Marijuana grow supporters urged to vote in June 7 election on local outdoor ban | TheUnion.com

Marijuana grow supporters urged to vote in June 7 election on local outdoor ban

Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, pulled few punches when talking to supporters of marijuana grows.

One: Growers need to register and vote on the local June 7 initiative, regardless of their feelings on the outcome.

Two: Passing grower-friendly legislation likely will take years, not months.

Three: Growers must accept that some people who grow cannabis are criminals and in a different category than farmers.

"You guys need to present a more viable path to clean communities," Allen said.

People crowded Sunday night into The Haven in downtown Nevada City for a meeting about marijuana. Many of them oppose the Board of Supervisors' action last week that created civil penalties for outdoor grows and limited indoor grows to 12 plants.

Nevada County residents will vote on whether to uphold the ban at the June primary. Voting the ban down won't erase it from the books, though board Chairman Dan Miller has said county leaders have no intention of bypassing the voters' will and would revisit the issue in that case.

Many attendees at Sunday's meeting railed against the board's decision to immediately ban outdoor cultivation.

"The bottom line: You and everyone you know needs to vote in June," Allen said.

Nevada City attorney Heather Burke, who also spoke at the meeting, said the election schedule gave them no time to put their own initiative on the June ballot.

Authorities can't arrest someone for violating the local, land-use ordinance restricting outdoor grows. However, officers need less probable cause to investigate a land-use violation than a crime, Burke said.

At one point, Allen asked how many attendees had considered running for elected office. A few raised their hands.

He then asked how many people actually had run.

A lot fewer hands were raised.

"Guess what — we're not represented," Allen said.

No change will occur because cultivation supporters could fill The Haven, Allen said.

He encouraged each person to contact two other people, have them register to vote and, most importantly, vote on June 7.

"What the cannabis community needs most right now is courage," he said.

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