Song Kowbell: I ask that you not allow fear to be the deciding factor in your vote

PENN VALLEY, Calif. May 5, 2016 – I am trying really hard to get a grip on what is happening in our county concerning the growing of medical marijuana.

We had a ordinance or even two – they said they didn’t work so they made another one – one clean sweep and it was banned. We went from many legal and illegal outdoor grows – to any and all outdoor grows illegal. It appears the Sheriff’s Dept can’t keep up with all of the complaints. Our Sheriff”s Department is down 14 deputies. Could someone please find out why? That is a lot of deputies to be down in a county which covers so much space. Are we now under-protected? Is that why our crime is up, because we have less Deputies out and about? Overtime must be the order of all scheduling. How much is that costing ?

According to the new ordinance, patients CAN grow indoors – if that isn’t the biggest lie, misrepresentation of their clear intent- to deny patients the medicine Doctors recommend and what the people of California voted for 20 years ago. The indoor growing must be in a separate area from house or attached garage in a building up to code.

Any thoughts on how poor patients, vets, disable folks are to come up with those demands? Could you? No longer is a simple greenhouse on the dirt acceptable. No more using the sun. If a patient can not afford the required growing area (most can not), does the patient now have to choose between paying their bills or buy the medicine that may stop their child’s seizures, help make arthritis more bearable, encourage one to eat if cancer treatments cause one to lose their appetite or if PTSD is driving one into isolation? This alone is reason to vote no on W.

Then, just to keep it clear, we have three of the four supervisors who voted for the outdoor growing ban telling the public its OK to do a plant or two in the garden. What is up with that? The Chair of the BOS said he used Medical Marijuana himself. If that doesn’t make you shake your head, read the whole ballot measure.

This Board – not including Richard Anderson (who seems to think future board members will be capable of making good decisions on this matter ) – wants to tie the hands of future Boards. They seem to be under the delusion that only they know what is best for us now and in the future. This alone, the tying of the hands of future BOS members to make their own decisions with the input of the community is enough to vote NO on W.

To add to the mix, we have the BOS members saying things like they got together and decided they were going to tie this issue up – when exactly did THAT conversation happen? Because it did not happen in public. At the Debate between Richard Harris and Ed Schofield, Ed told the audience he hopes all the marijuana growers left the county. Can you imagine living here your whole life (I have been here 39 years) and hearing your government official, a public servant saying that ?

I am also confused as to how they think this is going to work. Do they seriously think that all of those illegal, environmental destroying growers are going to hang their heads and say aw shucks, we wont do it anymore. What on God’s earth makes them think criminals follow new laws when they didn’t the follow the old one? If the environment, the wildlife, our communities matter, why didn’t they take the help offered by the state of California? Why not team up with the Forest Service, the environmental agency, the health and safety ? Why not make it a licence thing? Then you have control. You have maps marking the grows with licences. Why, when we are so short of county law enforcement and when we do need help stopping these out of control big grows do we turn our backs on help?

Finally, there is the question that Sheriff Royal asked a couple of months ago. What kind of community do we want? Well, I have lived here and raised 3 children in our local schools, doing drama, arts, community service for 39 years. I spent many summers here as a young child and fell in love with this place early in life. It is a community of good intent. We are blessed with beauty all around us, arts, music, theater, great restaurants, shops, health conscious activities. We have wonderful safe hiking trails, a river that is the heart of our land, which attracts people who come, bringing their families – both young and old. We are a community of retired, single and many families. We are rich in the choice of schools to choose from. Our county is in the growth curve of new and young farmers starting organic farms and more accessibility of fresh local food to our local schools, community members and local restaurants. Our local Fair in August is well known. We are a community that jumps in and helps each other- we support one another. We are an involved community. We are grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers and fathers, aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers, and the children – ah the children of Nevada County- strong, community-minded. Yes, we do have our problems as all communities do. We have work to do, it’s true – but when asked what kind of community do we want ? I’d say despite the reality that for the past 40 years of Marijuana being grown in this county, we are a GREAT COMMUNITY TO LIVE, RAISE YOUR CHILDREN AND RETIRE YOUR PARENTS IN.

I ask that you not allow fear to be the deciding factor in your vote – please think carefully when you do vote – think of the patients. How we can assure Medical Marijuana patients of our county have legal, sensible and safe access to the medicine their Doctors recommended – AND how we could have help from many agencies, if we but have the courage to ask.