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NEVADA CITY, Calif. January 7, 2016 – Tuesday’s Nevada County BOS meeting will devote the afternoon session to two items designed to ban all outdoor cultivation of marijuana, for medical or “recreational” use. Both items are brought to the Board by Sheriff Royal.

The first item, if approved, will amend the current Urgency Ordinance to read as follows:

The following limitations apply to Cultivation of Marijuana on each Premises located within the unincorporated area of Nevada County, regardless of the number of Qualified Patients or Primary Caregivers residing at the Premises or participating directly or indirectly in the Marijuana Cultivation activity. These limitations shall be imposed notwithstanding any assertion that the person(s) Cultivating Medical Marijuana are the Primary Caregiver(s) for Qualified Patients or that such person(s) are collectively or cooperatively Cultivating Marijuana.

1. Outdoor Marijuana Cultivation in any amount or quantity on property located within the unincorporated territory of Nevada County is hereby prohibited. Cultivation within any detached Accessory Structure that does not meet the definition of Indoor shall be considered Outdoor Cultivation, and is therefore prohibited within the unincorporated area of Nevada County.

2. Medical Marijuana may be Cultivated only on Legal Parcels located within any area zoned primarily for residential or rural uses (e.g., R-1, R-2, R-3, R-A, AG, AE, FR or TPZ). Medical Marijuana Cultivation shall be limited to twelve (12) Marijuana plants per Legal Parcel, whether mature, immature or seedlings, which are to be kept and cultivated only in one contiguous Indoor Cultivation area. The Indoor Cultivation of Marijuana, in any amount or quantity, on property located in any other zoning district is hereby prohibited.

3. Commercial Cannabis Activity in any amount or quantity on property located within the unincorporated territory of Nevada County is hereby prohibited.”

In a memo to the supervisors, Sheriff Royal outlines his rationale for the ban and concludes, “While the existing marijuana cultivation ordinance has helped curb the unregulated industry, the issues laid out above calls attention to the need to address marijuana in a much simpler and obvious manner. By banning all outdoor marijuana cultivation in Nevada County and only amending certain aspects of indoor medical marijuana regulations within a legal structure, it will allow patients, and those who grow for them, continued access while limiting or at least minimizing the unlawful activity we are currently experiencing as a community. It will also allow the law enforcement to focus its limited resources on other issues of concern so as to further improve the quality of life in our county.”

He cites a March 1st deadline for counties and cities to adopt local regulations pertaining to cultivation of marijuana. “If Nevada County misses this deadline, the State of California will be the sole licensing authority,” Royal states.

Yesterday, the California Assembly adopted AB 21. AB 21 would strike the deadline completely, allowing local jurisdictions to create new regulations around the cultivation of medical marijuana indefinitely. The bill is currently in the Senate and expected to pass.

Ballot measure to ban all outdoor cultivation to be considered

The second item of the afternoon pertains to a proposed ballot measure seeking to ban all outdoor marijuana growing and limiting indoor growing:

1. Outdoor Marijuana Cultivation in any amount or quantity is prohibited.

2. Indoor Marijuana Cultivation of more than twelve (12) Marijuana plants per Legal Parcel is prohibited.

By proposing a vote on the cultivation ban, Nevada County elected officials are shifting responsibility for the decision to the voters – which some might interpret as “local control.”

The meeting of the Nevada County BOS will take place at the Rood Center and the items will be heard starting at 1:30 pm on Tuesday January 12, 2016.

The supporting documents for both items are here: https://nevco.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2544353&GUID=9CD6C5F7-67B7-4776-95CF-8A4A68F80FC3 (ordinance) and https://nevco.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2545685&GUID=90442FBF-3ED2-440B-A13E-C27336BFAA94 (ballot measure)