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News (Media Awareness Project) - US CA: Shasta County Bans Pot Dispensaries; Board Also Passes
Title:US CA: Shasta County Bans Pot Dispensaries; Board Also Passes
Published On:2011-12-13
Source:Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Fetched On:2011-12-15 06:01:12
SHASTA COUNTY BANS POT DISPENSARIES; BOARD ALSO PASSES LAW REGULATING CULTIVATION

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted an
ordinance Tuesday banning medical marijuana dispensaries in
unincorporated parts of the county and narrowly passed a second law
hours later regulating pot growth for county residents.

"I am convinced based on the testimony today of the legal sufficiency
of our actions, and I also believe, while inconvenient, there's a
certain amount of reasonableness associated" with banning
dispensaries, said Supervisor David Kehoe.

But dozens of medical pot advocates at Tuesday's meeting didn't see it
that way.

James Benno of Redding said the county's rationale is
"laughable."

"I don't know what you guys are trying to pull" by taking away
medicine, Benno said. "I really don't understand what your logic and
thinking is."

Benno, who later cursed at supervisors repeatedly, got up to leave the
meeting and was escorted out by a deputy at the request of Supervisor
Les Baugh.

Before the meeting began, medical marijuana supporters lined the
street outside the administration building waving signs denouncing the
proposals.

About 60 people attended Tuesday morning's session, which resumed from
recess around 1:30 p.m. for the second round of the meeting.

The board in November will re-examine the second new law, which
introduced pot restrictions to county growers. The county has never
before had growing regulations.

The growth ordinance passed on a 3-2 vote with Supervisors Les Baugh
and Linda Hartman dissenting. Both asked for the proposal to go back
to the county planning staff to re-examine it in light of their own
concerns that the law might not be restrictive enough and those posed
by the public.

The cultivation ordinance bans growing inside residences, but allows
it in detached accessory structures and sets limits for outdoor
growing regardless of how many patients live at a residence.

Residents with less than an acre couldn't grow any more than 60 square
feet of marijuana, while those living on more than 1 but less than 2
acres could grow up to 100 square feet. Similarly, those with 2 to
just under 5 acres could grow 150 square feet and people living on 5
acres up to 20 could grow 240 square feet of pot.

Those with 20 acres or more would be limited to 360 square feet of
plants.

The gardens also would have to meet minimum setbacks from parcel lines
and adjacent residences.

The growth ordinance also sets a 1,000-foot "no-grow" zone between
cultivation sites and "sensitive areas," such as schools, youth
organizations, school bus stops or churches.

Neil Fairburn, 65, said the growing restrictions are "out of
line."

"The marijuana has helped me, and you're telling me I'm only going to
get 60 square feet to grow it? That's not going to fly," he said.

Russ Mull, director of Resource Management for the county, told
concerned medical marijuana patients the ordinance is only meant only
to prevent illegal sales, so county employees won't be hunting for
minor violations.

"We don't have enough time or interest in doing that," he
said.

Some at Tuesday's meeting didn't think the ordinance will do enough to
control pot grows.

Elizabeth Healy said she's "concerned and heart-sickened" by the
marijuana "crisis" in the area.

"The entire nature of our sweet, safe neighborhood has been horribly
compromised," she said regarding a pot-growing neighbor. Healy said
she wants the county to require 2,000 feet between grows and schools.

Others argued that stricter regulations on pot will only aid drug
cartels.

"It's (a problem) because it's not regulated," said Matthew Meyer.
"It's going to be here. The question is, who is going to be producing
it, selling it and buying it?"

Jess Brewer, owner of Trusted Friends collective in Redding, had
similar concerns, adding that patients need a way to get their
medicine now that the city's shut down its pot dispensaries.

"I believe that it's (crime) not going to go away. What we would like
is for true patients to be able to get medicine safely," said Jess
Brewer, owner of Trusted Friends collective in Redding. "I'm just
asking that you would think about the medical patients in this county."

Marcia Jones, who said she's a medical marijuana patient, said
patients like her rely on elected officials to protect them.

"I would really rather not see the people of my state and my county
hook up with these guys (drug dealers)," Jones said."Please do
regulate us. Please do give us a way to live healthfully,
comfortably."

For nearly two years now, there's been a moratorium on dispensaries in
rural Shasta County. Redding's recent shutdown came about in response
to the Pack v. Long Beach ruling, which said federal anti-marijuana
law trumped the city of Long Beach's medical marijuana ordinance.
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