Medical pot meeting: Nevada Co. supervisor Miller grants media access
June 20, 2016
NEVADA CITY, Calif. — Medical marijuana supporters on June 14 urged supervisors to immediately rescind their existing outdoor grow ban, and permit patients to again cultivate their medicine in Nevada County.
Grow advocates also asked Supervisor Dan Miller to allow media to attend a meeting on June 15 on grow regulations, arguing that in turning down Measure W, voters have asked the Board of Supervisors for transparency.
Hours later, Miller granted that request. Four media representatives were permitted to attend the June 15 meeting, which isn't covered by the Brown Act.
"We have worked long and hard to be here today," said Jonathan Collier, chairman of the Nevada County California Growers Association, during the board's public comment session on June 14.
Collier, invited to the June 15 stakeholder meeting, suggested three options the board could take before passing a new cultivation ordinance.
During the interim, it could restore the 2012 ordinance (which allowed outdoor grows but limited them by square footage), pass an urgency ordinance amending the existing ban, or create a new ordinance.
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Collier also suggested the board implement a two-year residency requirement for those who want to grow cannabis locally.
"We would like to see a process that includes the entire community," Collier said.
"A long-term, comprehensive land-use ordinance is what we'd like to see," he added.
The board has said it would repeal its existing outdoor grow ban after the certification of the June 7 vote, expected by early next month. Measure W, which would have banned outdoor grows and limited indoor grows to 12 plants, appears to have failed by some 6,000 votes. The supervisor-imposed outdoor ban remains in place.
Patricia Smith, president of the Nevada County chapter of Americans for Safe Access, urged supervisors to quickly rescind their ban.
Also an attendee of the June 15 closed meeting, Smith said she wanted to extend an "olive branch" to supervisors. She noted they've been on opposite sides of the marijuana issue for years.
"I'm sure you're sick of dealing with it as much as we are," she said. "No matter what decisions we make, there are people that are going to be happy with them and there are people that are not happy with them."
The public comment came 24 hours before the June 15 scheduled stakeholder meeting.
Attending that meeting were Supervisors Nate Beason and Hank Weston; Harry Bennett, a grow advocate; Mark Schaefer, chairman of the No on W Committee; Forrest Hurd, whose son has intractable epilepsy and uses medicinal cannabis; and Collier and Smith.
"I feel like a major mistake has been made here," said Song Kowbell, an outspoken opponent of Measure W, before Miller opted to open the June 15 meeting to the media. "To block us out by way of blocking the media out is inappropriate.
"Keep in mind that you represent us," she added moments later. "Please become transparent. Remain transparent."