Pubdate: Wed, 13 Jan 2016
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2016 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Eric Vodden


Four of five Yuba County supervisors walked out of their board 
chambers Tuesday morning amid a barrage of vitriolic catcalls from 
marijuana supporters. They returned to send two cannabis-related 
initiatives to the voters.

As expected, supervisors unanimously approved a consent agenda that 
included consolidating separate marijuana cultivation and dispensary 
initiatives with the June primary election. Matters on the consent 
agenda include items approved en masse.

While the outcome wasn't a surprise, the atmosphere was the most 
highly-charged of a series of Yuba County medical marijuana public 
sessions stretching back into 2014. The 45 or so people in the 
audience was fewer than many earlier meetings, but it was the first 
time things had gotten out of control to the point where the meeting 
was stopped.

Newly-elected chairman Roger Abe recessed the meeting and was joined 
by supervisors John Nicoletti, Randy Fletcher and Mary Jane Griego in 
leaving the chambers for 20 minutes. Supervisor Andy Vasquez remained 
in his seat and continued to be subjected to the outrage of some 
audience members.

Abe, in his first meeting as 2016 chairman, said he had never been 
involved in a public meeting in which there was so little decorum.

On three occasions, he warned audience members to be respectful and 
quiet until it was their turn to speak. On another, he was shouted at 
when he attempted to keep a speaker within the three-minute limit 
imposed by the board.

"I don't expect people to have the same views, but I would ask of 
them the same courtesy that they would demand when they are 
speaking," Abe said after the meeting. "I would think that when the 
voters witness that demonstration today, I would not hold out much 
hope for their proposed initiative."

Brook Hilton, a member of the Yuba Patients Coalition, addressed the 
crowd during the break after the four board members left.

"I understand your feelings," Hilton said. "But this is out of order 
and isn't going to get us anyplace."

Tuesday's action will send to the voters a cultivation ordinance less 
restrictive than one approved last spring banning outdoor grows and 
limiting indoor plants to 12 in a qualified accessory structure. Also 
on the June ballot will be a proposed ordinance allowing cannabis 
dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county.

Supervisors could also have approved outright the proposed ordinances 
after supporters of each collected enough signatures to send them to 
the board. Dispensary proponent Mickey Martin said "come June 7, we 
will get 51 percent of the votes anyway, and you will have to deal with it."

But Nicoletti said the special election will accomplish what 
initiative supporters want.

"Now it's up to the 73,000 residents of the county to decide this on 
the ballot," he said.

As of November 2014, Yuba County had 26,918 registered voters.

Audience members - some carrying signs in support of medical 
marijuana - vastly outnumbered speakers in support of the tighter ordinance.

Some linked the cultivation ban to the recent arrest of former NET-5 
(gang and drug task force) agent Christopher "Mark" Heath for 
transporting marijuana out of state.

"How could you believe your own code enforcement officers did not 
know what was happening?" Janet Wolfley asked the board. "There is no 
such thing as a bad apple. You are all bad apples. I hope you all end 
up in state prison."

Hilton told supervisors he doesn't believe the Heath arrest is an 
"isolated incident."

"If NET-5 didn't know this was happening, they are on crack," he said.

Carmel Garcia accused the board of allowing the "Sheriff's Department 
to run amok."

"Why the lot of you aren't in prison right now for violating the 
trust of these people and their (medical) conditions, I don't know," 
Garcia said of the current ordinance.

Charles Boutt II asked one of four sheriff's deputies at the meeting 
to place supervisors under "citizens arrest for treason." Boutt, with 
finger pointing, also yelled at Vasquez and Buck Weckman of Families 
Against Marijuana Trafficking during the break.

"We are the voters, and we voted for medical cannabis," said Boutt, 
referring to statewide votes allowing medical marijuana. "We are 
allowed to grow, and there is nothing you can do about it."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom