[Last night the various factions of the local MMJ stakeholders held a townhall gathering in the historic Nevada Theater. It was moderated by Pascale Fusshoeller of Yubanet.com and broadcast live on KVMR. Jo Ann and I were in attendance in the packed hall. The on onstage panel of five made lengthy opening statements after which they answered questions from the audience. I personally laud the efforts that our MMJ proponents are making to understand the comprehensive MMJ vs RMJ issue and work with the Nevada County Board of Supervisors to arrive at an acceptable ordinance that defines the kind of permissible MMJ grows and the distribution of the product.
One of the panelists was Ms Patricia Smith president of the local chapter of Americans for Safe Access and a longtime contributor to these pages. She has kindly submitted the following piece covering last night’s proceedings to inform RR readers of the progress toward the new ordinance. gjr]
The Town Hall meeting at the Nevada Theatre was convened to showcase the differences between the approaches that the Stakeholders have recommended from those that the County have proposed in their Interim Ordinance. To listen to the entire discussion, log onto KVMR at http://archive.kvmr.org. Scroll to June 18th, 6:00pm.
All five Stakeholder members of the Advocacy side were on the panel, none of the County's representatives agreed to appear. I can understand them not wanting to go into the "lion's den," but they should have the courage of their convictions to defend their proposals to the public.
At issue is how the County will respond to the vote of the people. So far, they are still behaving as if they know what is best for the citizens of Nevada County. Making decisions for the County is exactly what the Supervisors were elected to do, however, they forfeited that right when, through their own arrogance, they insisted on putting Measure W on the ballot to cement the ban into law.
Commercial growers on the other hand distribute their products to dispensaries who sell them to patients in the city that cannot grow their own medicine. They pay taxes, and many are asking the County to issue them permits so they can join in the State MMRSA program. These transactions are "for-profit" in that the grower is reimbursed for his time, expenses, and salary.
Cal Growers argue that permits are the best tool to address the concerns about cannabis cultivation. Growers are more likely to follow the guidelines when they know their future is secure. They will invest in a licensed electrician to install proper wiring and panels rather than run an extension cord outside over dry grass to reach the garden area. But if they feel their operation can be shut down at any minute, they will take the cheapest route possible to make as much money in the shortest amount of time which puts us all in danger.
The growers also point out that their recommendations mitigate environmental dangers by mandating all sites must get inspected by regulatory agencies before they get a permit. There is no oversight in the County's guidelines.
The County is still coming from a ban/eradicate mentality. They are imposing gated community standards on the entire county by declaring anything more than one plant an acre is a nuisance. (20 plants on 20 acres is their maximum allowance.) Property rights advocates will be appalled at the fine structure they are planning to implement come January. If they follow Yuba County's lead, a thirty plant garden that doesn't meet their standards could be penalized over $100,000. Don't pay and they will lien your property.
The County passed an Urgency measure on Jan 12 that banned all outdoor cultivation, but everyone - including people in R-1 zones, could grow 12 plants indoors. Their new and improved ordinance now bans BOTH indoor and Outdoor cultivation in R-1, R-2, and R-3 zones. You have to live on a parcel larger than 10 acres to grow on Res-Ag land and 5 acres or more to grow outdoors on AG land!!
People are more restricted from growing now than they were under Measure W. Does this sound like they have overturned the ban or double-downed despite their losses?
[21jul16 update] To bring Ms Smith's above commentary to a natural conclusion, I am including the just released NC BoS final draft for the new MMJ ordinance - Download Ncrp MJ Ordinance - July 2016-FINAL (second submission) - and the suggested response of the Nevada County Republican Women Federated to the Board of Supervisors. The BoS will meet on 26 July next to codify the ordinance.
A group of Yes on W proponents who supported the outdoor marijuana ban, have reviewed the Board of Supervisor’s draft of the urgency medical marijuana ordinance which will be voted on at Tuesday’s July 26th Supervisor’s meeting. As you have seen in the media the medical marijuana proponents have very high expectations for big grows. Also keep in mind that Measure W (to keep the outdoor ban) passed in Districts 2, 3 and 4 and defeated in Districts 1 and 5.
Please review these suggested changes or additions. And please email your supervisor in support of their draft version with these changes. The supervisor’s draft version sent to the growers is attached for your information.
The changes or additions to the Supervisor’s draft version recommended by the review committee are as follows:
- Leave the school setback at 1,000 feet as in the original ordinance instead of reducing it to 600 feet.
- Cultivation should not be permitted anywhere except in RA , AG, AE and TPZ zones and should be a maximum of 12 plants. If the purpose is to serve LOCAL medical marijuana needs this number of plants should be sufficient. Note here: The defeated Measure S requested a 12 plant maximum. There is a 6 plant maximum for medical marijuana in Colorado.
- All grower group proposals would trigger CEQA (California Environmental Quality
Act) and in some circumstances a 20 plant maximum could also trigger CEQA.
(environmental reviews for noise, air quality, traffic, etc.).
- A permit fee of $5,000 is recommended per patient with a doctor’s recommendation
(Fresno County charges $5,000.) The fee system should cover 100% of all costs
associated with this program with no burdens on taxpayers.
- Immediate abatement for grows with no permits
- Expedited abatement for out of compliance grows with permits.
- Growers without permits and with gross violations would trigger a 5 year restriction
on obtaining permits.
- Fines and penalties should be established at $1,000 per plant per day to begin
immediately and accumulate if a hearing is allowed.