Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jul 2016
Source: Union, The (Grass Valley, CA)
Copyright: 2016 The Union
Author: Alan Riquelmy


New proposed rules for medical marijuana grows led to anger on 
Tuesday as some medicinal cannabis proponents said they couldn't 
support the new recommendations while urging supervisors to compromise.

County officials, however, said they had to consider environmental 
concerns and secure four out of five supervisor votes on July 26 to 
pass interim grow rules and repeal the existing outdoor grow ban.

An ad hoc marijuana grow committee met Tuesday for the third time in 
its attempts to craft an interim grow ordinance in the wake of 
Measure W's failure. An advisory committee is expected to help write 
a permanent ordinance over the following months.

Grow advocates blanched when they saw the county's recommendations - 
no residential grows; a maximum of 12 plants, in or outdoors, in 
residential agricultural parcels between 10 to 20 acres; and 20 
outdoor plants on acres over 20 acres in the same zone.

Grows would be allowed in general agricultural, agricultural 
exclusive, forest and timberland production zones. The amount of 
plants would be limited by acreage, with none allowed under 2 acres, 
and no grow could have over 20 plants per parcel.

"Parts of this are more restrictive than the ban," said Harry 
Bennett, a grower. "It's more restrictive than what we just beat at the polls."

Patricia Smith, president of the Nevada County chapter of Americans 
for Safe Access, suggested the two supervisors on the committee - 
Nate Beason and Hank Weston - were misrepresenting their 
constituents. She noted that Measure W, which would have implemented 
a complete outdoor grow ban and limited indoor grows to 12 plants, 
failed on June 7.

An existing, supervisor-imposed ban remains in place.

"This is the way forward and we still seem to be mired in the past," 
said Smith, who had recommended grows of up to 50 plants. "This is 
not what the people voted for."

Jonathan Collier, chairman of the Nevada County California Growers 
Association, wants Nevada County to move toward regulating and 
permitting medical marijuana grows. He said that can't happen if 
county officials have a prohibition mind set.

Creating those regulations takes time that supervisors say they don't 
have. In February the supervisors passed a resolution of intent 
stating they would repeal the existing grow ban after the election's 

That certification happened early this month. The next Board of 
Supervisors meeting is July 26.

County officials also say they have to contend with the California 
Environmental Quality Act, called CEQA.

Amanda Uhrhammer, an attorney with the county, said the size of grows 
requested by medical marijuana advocates couldn't be exempt from 
CEQA. Because of that the county would have to make policies that 
show how environmental impacts are mitigated, and officials can't 
create those rules by July 26.

Forrest Hurd, whose son Silas has intractable epilepsy and uses 
medical cannabis, said he couldn't support the proposal.

"This keeps families like me criminal and that's a big concern," he said.

Smith predicted recall efforts could materialize if the proposal became law.

"I don't support anything in this," she said. "I think this is going 
to set off World War III."

Uhrhammer noted the existing outdoor grow ban would remain in effect 
if supervisors fail on July 26 to garner at least four votes.

"We are trying to do the best we can," Beason said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom