No immediate change to Nevada County marijuana grow rules, supervisors say | TheUnion.com

No immediate change to Nevada County marijuana grow rules, supervisors say

A Nevada County marijuana subcommittee has opted against making tweaks to the existing cannabis grow rules, a move virtually ensuring no changes will occur for months.

Supervisor Heidi Hall broached the subject at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, asking for an update on a request she made last month.

Hall had asked on behalf of the grow community about changes to the current, temporary grow regulations. Cannabis advocates have said small changes are needed for compliance.

"There was no appetite to make any changes," said Supervisor Hank Weston, who serves on the marijuana subcommittee.

The process to write new, permanent grow rules is weeks away from starting. Supervisors are scheduled next month to formally hire MIG, Inc., as their cannabis facilitator. MIG will lead meetings of a community advisory group, the members of which aren't yet picked, and help develop recommendations for the new grow ordinance.

"They're going to be soliciting applications," Weston said of the advisory group's selection process.

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Officials have said crafting new cultivation rules could take several months, a process which would easily last through this year's grow season.

Cannabis advocates had two other requests: a county registry, which they've said was a first step toward gaining state licenses; and clarity about fines the Sheriff's Office could impose on those who violate the existing grow ordinance.

It's unknown if a local registry is needed.

Diana Gamzon, director of the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, said she anticipates CalCannabis — previously called the Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program — will release their first draft of cultivation regulations within weeks.

"We are looking forward to seeing what will actually qualify as local authorization and then working with county staff to work toward those guidelines," Gamzon said in an email. "It may not even be called a registration."

Concerning the per-plant, per-violation fines, sheriff's Capt. Jeff Pettitt said he knows of no grower who's been fined since they became effective Jan. 1.

"If they're trying to come into compliance with the code, we're not going to fine them right away," he said.

Gamzon said she's concerned that the fine appears up to law enforcement's discretion.

"Any type of clarity on the enforcement priorities helps our members who are trying to comply with both local and state laws," Gamzon said in an email.

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

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