A standing Room Only crowd turned out for the afternoon session of the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday as Sheriff Keith Royal presented a request for discussion and Direction regarding a Medical Marijuana Ordinance for the county. The Sheriff is proposing an ordinance to restrict medical marijuana grows to 6 plants in residential areas 25 plants in rural zones, with restrictions on noise, light, fencing and distance from areas where children congregate. Sheriff Royal says the draft ordinance is just a template but the number of complaints about marijuana grows has reached a level too high to ignore.
“With members of this community, the greatest concern has to do with the odors. It gives them headaches it drives them out of their homes. It ruins the quality of life where they live.”
The board heard from a stream of medical marijuana users like Cheryl Purdle who is part of a 12 member collective. She grows the marijuana on her property. She says one member died last year and several members are too ill to grow their own.
“Collectives are very important, especially in this county, because you do no permit dispensaries. People are having to drive all the way to Colfax or Sacramento to obtain their medicine and it is medicine.”
Jason Timpany told the board he’s seen drug deals go down right in front of his house. His neighbors grow and have become aggressive protecting their crop. He says his family has been threatened.*
“It’s very disturbing that we don’t feel safe. I spent six years in the United States military and now I can’t get help to protect myself or my family.”
Martin Webb of Penn Valley questioned the point of even trying to pass regulations. He says the big growers don’t follow the law now, what’s to stop them in the future?
“The people that grow small amounts are going to be most impacted by this and you won’t touch anyone who is a commercial grower. Those people aren’t here because they don’t care what you say or what you think. The medical people are here and we’re tired of being pushed around.”
Nevada City council member Renette Sennum told the board they should not lose sight of marijuana as an economic driver in the county.
“I have had a lot of business owners come to me within the Nevada City area as well as outside Nevada City telling me, basically, Renette, it’s this crop that’s keeping me afloat right now. If this goes, so goes my business as well and I think that what we need to do is really look at this because it’s much greyer and it’s much more complex than we realize. It has infiltrated our culture and we have built an economy that is based upon it, I’m sorry to say.”
Sennum suggested the county should do an economic impact report on any marijuana ordinance in the county.
In the end supervisors voted to direct the sheriff to move forward with formation of a draft Marijuana ordinance and to report back in four months.