Ray Oliver: Interim Ordinance Continues to Ban Outdoor Cultivation

July 25, 2016 – The Board of Supervisors’ is not honoring the will of the voters who voted to repeal the ban on outdoor cannabis cultivation.

The proposed interim ordinance purports to honor the will of the voters by allowing outdoor cultivation on agriculturally zoned parcels greater than 5 acres. In fact, the interim ordinance continues to ban outdoor cultivation by the use of arbitrary, draconian setbacks and a significant change in how those setbacks are measured.

The proposed interim ordinance requires a 200-foot setback for parcels greater than 5 acres and up to 10 acres, and a 300-foot setback for parcels greater than 10 acres. It also requires the setbacks to be measured from the perimeter of the garden to all parcel boundaries, not to adjacent residences (which may or may not exist).

A 200-foot setback on a square 5-acre parcel bans outdoor cultivation on 98% of that parcel.

A 300-foot setback on a square 10-acre parcel bans outdoor cultivation on 99.2% of that parcel.

The setbacks, when applied to rectangular or odd-shaped parcels, act to decrease or entirely eliminate any allowable outdoor cultivation area on 5, 10, and even 20-acre parcels.

The setbacks also act to determine the precise location of the allowable cultivation area within a parcel. If that location happens to be a ravine, a creek, a house, a stand of trees, no sun, a steep slope, a rocky area, or a location totally unsuitable or not feasible for a garden …outdoor cultivation is effectively banned for those parcels.

This Board of Supervisors appears determined to lock in a ban on outdoor cultivation one way or another, no matter how their constituents voted, and no matter the harm to legal medicinal cannabis patients. With a 4 to 1 supermajority the prohibitionist supervisors have used the urgency ordinance process to deny citizens a normal 30-day public review period and a noticed public hearing. They will have this power until next year’s board is seated. Even then, prohibitionist supervisors will have a 3 to 2 majority for the next 2 years – absent a successful recall effort.