Nevada County marijuana: Sheriff recommends election to ban outdoor cultivation (UPDATED WITH DOCUMENTS) | TheUnion.com

Nevada County marijuana: Sheriff recommends election to ban outdoor cultivation (UPDATED WITH DOCUMENTS)

Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal on Tuesday will recommend that voters should decide if the outdoor cultivation of marijuana should be banned, according to county records.

The election, if approved by the supervisors, would occur June 7.

The sheriff also is expected to ask the board to adopt an ordinance immediately implementing the outdoor ban.

Royal, scheduled to appear before the Board of Supervisors, states in a letter that the ban of all outdoor cultivation, and amending portions of local regulations for medical marijuana grows, would allow patients continued access and minimize crime. It also would allow authorities to focus on other issues.

"It is well known in certain circles that Nevada County is the place to go if you want to cultivate marijuana," Royal states in a letter to supervisors.

The ordinance, which would take effect immediately after a successful vote of the board, would allow indoor medical marijuana grows under certain conditions. Such grows would be restricted to residential and rural uses and limited to 12 plants per parcel.

Additionally, all commercial cannabis activity would be forbidden — an attempt to enact local law before the possibility of state voters approving legal, recreational marijuana this November, the sheriff states in a letter to supervisors.

Voters on June 7 would then have the opportunity to overturn or uphold the local ban at the ballot box.

Royal in his letter argues that a March 1 deadline for local law requires urgency. If counties don't implement a marijuana cultivation ordinance by then, the state becomes the only licensing authority.

State Assemblyman Jim Wood has issued an open letter stating that deadline is an error and would be corrected by the Legislature.

Attorney Melissa Sanchez, who represents some Nevada County marijuana growers, disagrees with both of Royal's recommendations.

"The point of the laws was to bring everyone into the open," she said. "We want to work with the state law."

According to Sanchez, the urgency ordinance allows the Board of Supervisors to forego the usual time restrictions and immediately vote on the proposal. It puts the issue on a fast track, which Sanchez said gives her little time to find a better solution.

"It really means that they don't care about our input," she added.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email him at ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

Staff Memo-2016 Marijuana Outdoor Ban Ordinance Staff Letter

MJ Urgency Ord – Final (BOS 1-12-16)

Redline showing proposed changes of MJ Ord