Measure W, a total ban on medical marijuana?

NEVADA CITY, Calif. March 13, 2016 – Measure W’s revised impartial analysis, a result of a court ruling granting the Order to Show Cause (OSC) filed by Forrest Hurd, offers a condensed version of the actual ballot measure. A close reading reveals yet another difference between the updated urgency ordinance passed by the Nevada County Board of Supervisors¬† on January 12th and the Measure W. The ballot measure references federal law whereas the ordinance does not. Under federal law, marijuana cultivation is illegal. Therefore, Measure W could be read as prohibiting all marijuana cultivation, be that medicinal or recreational, indoor or outdoors.

Unintended oversights?

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The current ordinance, passed on January 12th,  amended Sec. G-IV 5.4 Nuisance Declared; Cultivation Restrictions to read, in part:

…3. In conformance with all applicable State and local laws, including all regulations and restrictions as set forth in this Article. [Emphasis added]

The ballot measure inserts this into Section I: Section G-IV 5.4(C) of Article 5 of Chapter IV of the Nevada County General Code regarding Marijuana Cultivation is hereby amended to read as follows:

…4. Only for medical purposes in accordance with federal, state and local law. [emphasis added]

Both the text of the first impartial analysis and the revised analysis state:

Allows marijuana cultivation only for medical purposes in accordance with federal, state and local laws, including regulations and restrictions adopted by the Nevada County Board of Supervisors. [emphasis added]

Absent in the current ordinance, the reference to federal law in the ballot measure and both analyses, may just be an oversight. The consequences of the insertion are unknown at this point.

Currently, federal law provides no exception for medical marijuana. No medical marijuana patient or caregiver can therefore comply with federal law. Measure W could appear to be a de facto ban on all marijuana cultivation.