The roots of marijuana prohibition: degradation of the American legislators in the new world order… Abandon all hope, those who live in Nevada County. As Grass Valley, Nevada city, and all of Nevada County wait for the California Supreme Court to hand down their ruling regarding communities ability to ban marijuana collectives, Americans for safe access struggle with the forces of evil.
By Margaret Moran - The Nevada County chapter of Americans for Safe Access is expanding to Truckee with a goal of more outreach as it prepares to sponsor a challenge to the county's marijuana cultivation law.
“It's important to involve the entire community because it affects the entire community,” said Nevada County ASA chair Patricia Smith.
The ordinance, which the Nevada County Board of Supervisors adopted 4-1 on May 8, 2012, regulates legal cannabis growth from a nuisance standpoint within unincorporated areas in the county. The ordinance limits growth based on parcel size, property zoning and setbacks, and imposes other restrictions such as fencing and lighting regulations.
“It tries to balance people's right to grow legal marijuana and the quality of life of their neighbors,” said Nevada County Sheriff's Office Lt. Steve Tripp. “... Everything in the ordinance is so everyone can co-exist together.”
But Smith said the ordinance isn't fair to patients by limiting the amount of medicine that most agree is needed to get from one growing season to another, which is typically from April through September in Nevada County.
“That set space is so small that people can barely grow for themselves, let alone for someone else,” Smith said.
According to the county ordinance, a rural zoned parcel that is less than two acres is limited to 100 square feet of indoor cultivation or 150 square feet of outdoor cultivation. Residential zoned parcels of two acres or more are limited to 75 outdoor square feet and 100 indoor square feet.
On May 21, 2012, the ASA Nevada County chapter filed a complaint against the ordinance, the major point of contention being that it restricts growth by square footage rather than plant counts, Smith said.
The complaint is still in litigation, said Nevada County Counsel Alison Barratt-Green, adding that the county has filed a motion to dismiss certain issues. If the motion is denied, the complaint would go to trial on June 18, 2013.
By then, the growing season will be well under way, so the ASA Nevada County chapter is sponsoring a voter initiative that will be filed at the beginning of next week in hopes of redefining the ordinance's terms prior to the growing season, Smith said.
Per plant cultivation
ASA's goal is to replace Nevada County's ordinance with something similar to Yuba County's marijuana cultivation law, Smith said, which many say is the most progressive in the state.
That ordinance — passed by the Yuba County Board of Supervisors, 4-1, on Dec. 11, 2011 — dictates the number of plants and their maturity level that can be grown on various parcel sizes.
For parcels less than one acre, there is a combined limit of indoor and outdoor cultivation of no more than 18 marijuana plants, with 12 of them being mature. With parcels 20 acres or more with one residence, the combined limit of indoor and outdoor cultivation is no more than 99 plants, of which only 60 can be mature.
“It's quite generous,” Smith said.
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