Pubdate: Wed, 09 Dec 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat


We're wondering if the two sides will just jump to conclusions.

We're talking about Yuba County supervisors and the advocates for a 
more lenient medical marijuana cultivation law. It was just reported 
that backers of an initiative to lighten up the county's cultivation 
laws successfully gathered enough signatures to force the issue.

The proponents could jump to the conclusion that they've got the 
situation all zipped up - that by successfully gaining enough 
signatures, it proves that the population generally supports them. 
That would be a bad assumption, we think, but that's their business.

The supervisors could just conclude the whole initiative proposal is 
baloney and they should stick to their guns and take it to the polls.

That would be public business, and they ought to at least put some 
study and discussion in. It would seem like a good bet that the 
initiative could lose at the polls, but it's far from guaranteed.

It was certified late last week that there were enough signatures 
gathered on initiative petitions to bring the matter back to 
supervisors. County Clerk Terry Hansen said supervisors can adopt the 
ordinance outlined in the initiative, call for a special election, or 
order a report outlining the fiscal impact of the initiative. A 
report would have to be completed in 30 days, and the board would 
then have to take action.

The petitioners gathered 3,355 signatures and 2,908 were determined 
to be valid (2,483 were needed).

It wasn't so long ago that Yuba County had a fairly lenient ordinance 
allowing outdoor marijuana grows with a ratcheted system where 
growers were allowed to have so many plants on an occupied property 
depending on how many acres were included in the parcel.

But grows were popping up all over the place that were clearly 
outside the law. Officials were encountering growers who said they 
thought it was OK to grow whatever amount they were growing - whether 
they were purposefully twisting the law, misinterpreting the law, 
unaware of the law or ignoring it, supervisors felt the need to crack down.

So they revised the ordinance and made it fairly draconian. No 
outdoor grows are now allowed; and only a dozen plants can be grown 
in a qualified accessory structure. It essentially makes it 
impossible for most medical marijuana users to afford to grow their 
own or for growers to supply groups.

The ordinance proposed in the initiative would lighten up the 
restrictions and return the county to a ratcheted system. The 
initiative calls for allowing six to 12 outdoor or indoor plants on 
properties of less than an acre that include a residence. It would 
allow 18 plants on a parcel of 1 to 5 acres; 36 plants on a parcel of 
5 to 20 acres; and 60 plants on 20 or more acres. That's similar to 
the previous law, though less liberal with the number of plants allowed.

According to a story Tuesday by Eric Vodden, the earliest the 
supervisors can have the issue on a meeting agenda is Jan. 12. But 
they can individually start studying up. They represent 
constituencies that include quite a range of thinking on the topic, 
with hardcore groups at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Supervisors may not have a lot to lose by just forcing the issue onto 
a ballot. But they ought to at least do the report and give an honest 
look at the proposed ordinance. And even if they pass on adopting it 
and force it to the ballot box, they ought to, with the help of 
county staff, give voters their logic for either supporting or opposing it.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom