NEVADA CITY, Calif. January 21, 2016 – Language clarifying the proposed ballot measure regarding marijuana cultivation in Nevada County is coming to the February 9th Board of Supervisors meeting.

After the initial ballot measure was approved by the BOS on a 4-1 vote, questions arose about what a Yes or a No vote on the ballot measure actually means.

Supervisors then expressed their intent to respect the will of the voters, with the current Chair of the BOS, Dan Miller, stating: “Our understanding was a ‘yes’ on the ballot measure would uphold the provisions of the emergency ordinance and a ‘no’ vote would rescind the emergency ordinance and we would return to the previous ordinance.”

Ballot language itself may be rewritten

In a meeting with reporters from The Union and YubaNet today, County Counsel Alison Barratt-Green said that her office will bring either a resolution stating the intent of the Board to the Feb. 9th meeting or a revision of the actual ballot question.

“I am considering re-looking at the ballot question, trying to clarify that. We may make a new recommendation on the ballot question,” she said. “What we can say is ‘Do you want to allow outdoor growing?’ ‘Do you want an outdoor ban?’ ‘Do you want to restrict it to 12 plants only,’ we can spell out in the ballot question a little more what the measure is about.”

The ballot question can have no more than 75 words. Additional information on the ballot measure, as well as the arguments in favor and opposing the measure will be provided in the voter information pamphlet.

The pamphlet will also contain the impartial analysis of the measure, limited to 500 words. The analysis will be written by County Counsel and spell out what a yes or no vote means. Asked if there could be any conflict between writing the ballot measure and then also providing the impartial analysis, Barratt-Green stated, “When I write an impartial analysis, I write for the people, not for the Board or the Sheriff’s office.”

By law, the BOS can’t automatically roll back the clock if the measure fails. The Board has to take an affirmative action after the vote [by voters on June 7], Barratt-Green said. If the measure passes, the new language will replace the current language of two sections of the code. If it fails, the BOS will have to vote to repeal the outdoor growing ban. The Board then will have to craft new regulations regarding outdoor cultivation.

Current abatement, appeals process and fines remain in place

The BOS adopted revisions to two sections of the marijuana cultivation ordinance at their January 12th meeting. However, the appeals process, the abatement timelines and the civil fines remain unchanged.

Still just a civil matter

A point of clarification is in order when talking about the enforcement and the possible penalties for non-compliance. The ordinance is a nuisance ordinance and as such is a civil matter. Nobody is going to jail for non-compliance, it is not a criminal matter.

Next steps

The BOS will consider the clarifying language at the February 9th meeting during the afternoon session, starting at 1:30 pm. The meeting is open to the public. Comments on the item will be heard by the BOS. Generally, individuals are afforded three minutes and organization can have up to five minutes to voice their opinion.

Once the final version of the ballot measure is adopted by the BOS, the Elections Office will publish a “Notice of Election” just for this measure. If the current lettering system is kept, the ballot measure could be known as Measure W.