HumCo Pot Regs A ‘Roach Motel?’ – January 18, 2010

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Daniel Mintz

Eye Correspondent

HUMBOLDT – The county’s Planning Commission has been told that a new regulatory proposal excessively restricts the linchpin of the county’s economy – marijuana.

The commission reviewed a draft of a new medical marijuana ordinance at its Jan. 6 meeting and quickly found out that growers and medical marijuana advocates are rallying to oppose it.

Marijuana cultivation was described as the county’s economic cornerstone – a contention that commissioners acknowledged as truth. But Community Development Services Director Kirk Girard said there’s also support for new restrictions.

“There are many people who say this ordinance doesn’t go far enough,” he told commissioners.

Covering residential growing and dispensaries, it’s only part of the county’s approach to new regulations. A more substantial and ground-breaking aspect will be setting rules for outdoor growing, a process that Girard said will take six months to a year.

During public comment, several medical marijuana advocates said the proposed ordinance circumvents medical marijuana rights and attacks what they described as the county’s marijuana-based economy.

The county’s draft ordinance is heavily-influenced by what the City of Arcata adopted in 2008. Redway resident Charley Custer questioned the idea of copying what Arcata’s done.

“This draft, as you know, is taken from Arcata’s Nip It In the Bud campaign that was written to drive pot out of Arcata and now we want to take the ordinance that drives pot out of Arcata and make it countywide,” he said, adding that doing so will draw patients into “the county’s regulatory roach motel of title queries and property inspections.”

Robert Sutherland told commissioners that the draft ordinance “unreasonably and prejudicially treats one form of agriculture with vastly stricter standards than any other form of agriculture” and advances “escalating warfare and renewed attack pandering to the petty resentments and prejudice of the past.”

Kim Nelson of the Humboldt Medical Marijuana Advisory Panel advocacy group said he doubted that any of the commissioners are involved in the marijuana industry but asked them just in case, drawing laughter from the audience and commissioners.

Nelson proposed the formation of an industry-based “cannabis council” and warned that a poorly-drafted ordinance will have financial effects.

“This is the economic base of the county and everyone knows it,” he said.

Greg Allen, the chairman of the county’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter, called marijuana the “economic lifeblood” of the county. “In this room, with this group, first steps are going to be made to nurture this economic lifeblood or to kill it and I’m sure hoping that you folks will nurture it,” he told commissioners.

Commissioners advised audience members to work as a group and submit a version of an ordinance that they can support. The hearing was continued to the Feb. 3 meeting.

Two permit hearings for medical marijuana dispensaries – one proposed for a commercial building on Redwood Drive in Garberville and another on Myrtle Avenue in the greater Eureka area – were also continued to Feb. 3.

The county’s draft ordinance applies to personal cultivation in residential areas and to collectives, co-ops and dispensaries. It cuts per-patient growing area by half, to 50 square feet.

It names 1200 watts as a maximum lighting standard and mandates that “no visual, auditory or olfactory evidence of cultivation” is allowed from public right-of-ways or neighboring houses.

Co-ops, dispensaries, collectives and delivery services are also regulated under the new ordinance. The total number of all of them is limited to 12 in the county. They’d need conditional use permits and would only be allowed in “specifically enumerated zones.”

None could be within a 600 foot radius of a school and the cumulative impacts of being within 500 feet of churches, schools, playgrounds, parks, libraries, residential treatment facilities and other dispensaries would be considered.


4 Responses to “HumCo Pot Regs A ‘Roach Motel?’ – January 18, 2010”

  1. HumCo attempts to shoot it’s own foot; limiting the rights of patients, demonizing Cannabis, and destroying Humboldt’s reputation and tourism. Perhaps, a well publicized showing of Reefer Madness will steer public opinion into fearing the most medicinal and useful herb nature ever produced. As the War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism have proven to be so effective and efficient, I opine a War on Questioning Government Authority should be declared; Wikileaks as the first target, then the Internet. We must declare war on everything that we fear or do not understand; otherwise, the evil-doers, who hate American “freedom”, will win! Heaven, help the fools.

  2. This like the Arcata ordinance will not survive legal challenges.
    It is clearly illegal on many front including but not limited too patient privacy laws. Nowhere in Prop 215 does it give the city or count the authority to limit your medical cannabis garden in any way.
    Kelly Decision: Three Appeals courts ruled the quantity limits passed by the legislature in SB420 were unconstitutional .Chris Conrad testified at Kelly’s original Long Beach trial and is cited. The Supreme Court held that the quantities are legal as a safe harbor for state ID cardholders but are unconstitutional as a limit on a qualified patient’s defense in court. It also held that the state ID card system is constitutional and that collectives operating under Health and Safety Code 11362.775 are constitutionally protected throughout the state. Click here to view as a PDF (320k) Chris Conrad’s cannabis expert testimony cited multiple times.

    Kelly Appeals Court Decision. Chris Conrad testified at the original Long Beach trial and is cited. Ruling that was reviewed by the Supreme Court (Click here to view as a PDF (144k). Christopher Conrad testimony, mention 1. Christopher Conrad testimony, mention 2.

    Phomphakdy Appeals Court Decision: Chris Conrad testified at the original Sacramento trial and is cited. Held that Quantities listed in SB 420, HS 11362.77(a) are unconstitutional to the extent that they are taken as limits affecting patients’ rights or legal defense. Chris Conrad’s testimony, mention 1 . Chris Conrad’s testimony, mention 2.

    Archer Appeals Court Decision. Chris Conrad testified at the original San Diego trial. SB 420 quantity limits held unconstitutional by Appeals Court.

    Windus Decision: Doctor’s approval is not an annual requirement and can be good for years; doctor’s dosage is advisory and does not restrict patient from having a “reasonable” amount, even if less than what a patient has.

    San Diego v NORML: Federal law does not trump state law, California counties and agencies have to follow State law, not federal.

    Kha Decision: Appellate Court: Local police must return medical marijuana to patients if found to be lawful under state law, regardless of federal law. Click here to view as a PDF (120k). “Mindful as we are of the general supremacy of federal law, we are unable to discern any justification for the City or its police department to disregard the trial court’s order to return Kha’s marijuana. The order is fully consistent with state law respecting the possession of medical marijuana, and for all the reasons discussed, we do not believe the federal drug laws supersede or preempt Kha’s right to the return of his property. That right has its origins in the CUA and MMP, but it is grounded, at bottom, on fairness principles embodied in the due process clause. Those principles require the return of Kha’s property.”

    And :
    Butte County V Butte County Superior Court.
    California Supreme Court has let stand a landmark appellate court ruling that protects the right of medical marijuana patients and their primary caregivers to collectively cultivate. The ruling by California’s Third Appellate District Court also affirmed a patient’s ability to take civil action when their right to collectively cultivate is violated by law enforcement. The Butte County case involved a private 7-patient medical marijuana collective in Paradise, California.

    The ruling was originally tied to a lawsuit filed in May 2006 by Americans for Safe Access (ASA) on behalf of 56-year-old David Williams and six other collective members after Butte County Sheriffs conducted a warrantless search of his home in 2005. Deputies forced Williams to uproot more than two-dozen plants by threatening arrest and prosecution. Contrary to state law, Williams was told by the Sheriff that his collectively cultivated medical marijuana was illegal.

    After court Joe Elford, ASA Chief Counsel commented “By refusing to review this case, the California Supreme Court sends a strong message that local law enforcement must uphold the medical marijuana laws of the state and not competing federal laws.” Joe was the attorney that litigated the case on behalf of Williams. The appellate court ruling from July 2009 concluded that, “[T]he deputy was acting under color of California law, not federal law. Accordingly, the propriety of his conduct is measured by California law.”

    In its ruling, the appellate court asserted that the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 is not simply an affirmative defense to criminal sanctions: “[W]e see an opportunity for an individual to request the same constitutional guarantee of due process available to all individuals, no matter what their status, under the state Constitution. The fact that this case involves medical marijuana and a qualified medical marijuana patient does not change these fundamental constitutional rights or an individual’s right to assert them.”

    It would be really nice if the people we elect to work for us would learn how to read and comprehend the relevant laws, and not ignore them because they dislike them.

  3. Okay, it would likely be best if humans would accept a non-impaired brain and just be cool and huggable but then reality smacks us in the face or pokes one in the nose or something.

    On the whole, generally, I would prefer my fellow humans to take a few tokes and prance around than consume alcohol.

    Also shun the hard-core freaky stuff such as meth (crank) heroine and the other really potent life-altering drugs.

    But I view alcohol as causing more personal and societal harm than all other drugs combined.

    Alcohol. BAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I found an alcohol-free life and life-style to be eminently superior to a life with the noxious substance around me.

    No alcohol in my shanty!!!! Ever.

    Though I ceased the “devil weed” many moons ago due to finding a Zen-like existence atop the Ozark Plateau if some fine herb appeared and the setting was conducive to a buzzzzzz I might imbibe a toke or two but I could also easily say, “No thanky, Yankee.”

    Still, I do appreciate the two-weeks R&R in Thailand at taxpayer’s expense back in the 70s.

    The place still sticks in my mind for various reasons; including a short bout with Buddha’s best bud.

  4. Anon.r.mous

    Ah yes, good ol reefer madness.

    The first post in this thread is reason enough to ban the “demon weed”


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