Pubdate: Wed, 15 Jun 2016
Source: Union, The (Grass Valley, CA)
Copyright: 2016 The Union
Author: Alan Riquelmy


Medical marijuana supporters on Tuesday urged supervisors to 
immediately rescind their existing outdoor grow ban, and permit 
patients to again cultivate their medicine in Nevada County.

Grow advocates also asked Supervisor Dan Miller to allow media to 
attend a meeting today on grow regulations, arguing that in turning 
down Measure W, voters have asked the Board of Supervisors for transparency.

Hours later, Miller granted that request. Four media representatives 
were permitted to attend today's meeting, which isn't covered by the Brown Act.

"We have worked long and hard to be here today," said Jonathan 
Collier, chairman of the Nevada County California Growers 
Association, during the board's Tuesday public comment session.

Collier, invited to today's stakeholder meeting, suggested three 
options the board could take before passing a new cultivation 
ordinance. During the interim, it could restore the 2012 ordinance 
(which allowed outdoor grows but limited them by square footage), 
pass an urgency ordinance amending the existing ban, or create a new ordinance.

Collier also suggested the board implement a two-year residency 
requirement for those who want to grow cannabis locally.

"We would like to see a process that includes the entire community," 
Collier said.

"A long-term, comprehensive land-use ordinance is what we'd like to 
see," he added.

The board has said it would repeal its existing outdoor grow ban 
after the certification of the June 7 vote, expected by early next 
month. Measure W, which would have banned outdoor grows and limited 
indoor grows to 12 plants, appears to have failed by some 6,000 
votes. The supervisor-imposed outdoor ban remains in place.

Patricia Smith, president of the Nevada County chapter of Americans 
for Safe Access, urged supervisors to quickly rescind their ban. Also 
an attendee of today's closed meeting, Smith said she wanted to 
extend an "olive branch" to supervisors. She noted they've been on 
opposite sides of the marijuana issue for years.

"I'm sure you're sick of dealing with it as much as we are," she 
said. "No matter what decisions we make, there are people that are 
going to be happy with them and there are people that are not happy with them."

The public comment came 24 hours before today's scheduled stakeholder 
meeting. Attending that meeting are Supervisors Nate Beason and Hank 
Weston; Harry Bennett, a grow advocate; Mark Schaefer, chairman of 
the No on W Committee; Forrest Hurd, whose son has intractable 
epilepsy and uses medicinal cannabis; and Collier and Smith.

"I feel like a major mistake has been made here," said Song Kowbell, 
an outspoken opponent of Measure W, before Miller opted to open 
today's meeting to the media. "To block us out by way of blocking the 
media out is inappropriate.

"Keep in mind that you represent us," she added moments later. 
"Please become transparent. Remain transparent."

In other matters, the board:

Entered a closed-door session to discuss raises over the next three 
years for sheriff's deputies and department heads. The board then 
returned to open session and discussed raises for elected officials 
before voting to grant 3 percent raises over the next two years and a 
2 percent raise in the third year to all three groups.

The total cost to the county over three years is $1.4 million.

Held a separate closed-door session to discuss the visually important 
ridgeline case. The judge in that case ruled that Juliet Erickson and 
Peter Lockyer are the prevailing parties, and are entitled to court 
costs. However, the judge made no ruling on attorney's fees, expected 
to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom