Pubdate: Wed, 18 May 2016
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2016 Gold Country Media
Author: Gus Thomson


LaMalfa, Nielsen Cite Crime Increase, Youth Access, Pollution

Placer County supervisors faced down more opposition Tuesday to 
efforts that could result in taxing and regulating medical pot grows 
this time from Congressman Doug LaMalfa and state Sen. Jim Nielsen.

The two were not present at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting 
but sent representatives to read prepared statements reinforcing 
strong concerns already voiced earlier in the month by Placer 
County's four police chiefs.

Nielsen, speaking to the Journal late Tuesday, said that as chairman 
of the state Board of Prison Terms for several years, he observed the 
negative impact of marijuana.

"I've seen the light at the end of the tunnel and it's not a pretty 
sight," Nielsen said.

Nielsen added that he has public support for his strong stance.

"I've represented 19 different California counties over a lot of 
years and there are some who are very enamored with marijuana," 
Nielsen said. "But most are not and very strongly 'not.' They don't 
like how water is misused and abused and there are many other things 
that come along with it."

People who have to live around grows don't like the smell or 
activities going on around them, he said.

"In may cases, they are fearful," Nielsen said.

While the county is exploring the possibility of regulating and 
taxing cannabis production for medical use in advance of possible 
passage in November by voters statewide of a measure allowing 
recreational use, LaMalfa and Nielsen are calling for what they 
describe as a strict local ordinance.

That would mean a complete ban on all outdoor cultivation and indoor 
commercial cultivation.

Also banned under the Nielsen-LaMalfa plan would be dispensaries, 
distribution, testing, processing and delivery.

If some form of cultivation is deemed necessary, supervisors should 
consider policies similar to neighboring counties that establish 
land-use ordinances allowing qualified patients or caregivers to only 
have limited indoor grows in a building other than a residence, the 
two stated in a letter provided to the Journal.

Locations would also be limited.

"Due to the concerns of youth access and exposure to marijuana, we 
encourage any indoor marijuana cultivation to be at least one mile 
away from any school, church, childcare center, park, school 
evacuation site or youth-oriented facility," LaMalfa and Neilsen said.

LaMalfa, R-Richvale, and Nielsen, R-Gerber, reminded board members 
that every police chief in the county has joined with Placer County 
Sheriff Ed Bonner and District Attorney Scott Owens to oppose a 
"broad and permissive ordinance."

"It would be very detrimental to the citizens of Placer County if the 
Board of Supervisors votes to ignore the well-founded opinions and 
expertise of its law enforcement leaders," the two stated.

Lincoln Police Chief Rex Marks backed up the two's comments, noting 
that there were risks to public safety, public health and the 
environment by not banning cultivation and dispensaries.

But Loomis resident Sam Toll, who said he has represented the 
Libertarian Party at several forums, rebutted the anti-dispensary stance.

"The are only two people who benefit from the ban - one is the cops 
and one is the robbers," Toll said.

With a county estimate of 4,000 illicit grows in Placer, regulating 
and taxing would bring mostly otherwise law-abiding residents and 
taxpayers out of the shadows, he said.

"They want to come into the light," Toll said.

Toll added that Calaveras County is considering a $5,000-per-license 
program, which would be able to pay for projects like school 
renovations like the ones proposed in Measure C.

Chairman Robert Weygandt said that everyone will have full and ample 
opportunity to comment on Placer pot proposals when the board meets June 21.
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