Proposal requesting outdoor grow exemptions submitted to Nevada County supervisors | TheUnion.com

Proposal requesting outdoor grow exemptions submitted to Nevada County supervisors

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors now has a written proposal for providing exemptions to marijuana grows, a necessary document for the board if it's to consider the issue at its March 8 meeting.

It's unknown, however, if supervisors or county staff will sponsor the proposal — a requirement for it to make the board's agenda and, ultimately, the June 7 vote on the issue.

Nevada City attorney Heather Burke submitted the proposal on behalf of her clients, Forrest Hurd and his 8-year-old son Silas, who suffers from seizures. Hurd has told supervisors that medical marijuana greatly reduces his son's seizures, and that banning outdoor grows will severely impact his ability to obtain the medicine.

Supporters of the Hurds on Tuesday pleaded with supervisors to allow an exemption for people like Silas. Supervisor Dan Miller, board chairman, later said grow supporters had provided no proposal for such an exemption that supervisors could consider.

Burke submitted her proposal on Wednesday.

"I haven't had a chance to fully review it," said Miller, who was out of the county Thursday.

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Heather Burke Pot proposal by The Union

Current law forbids outdoor grows and limits indoor grows to 12 plants. Nevada County voters will decide June 7 whether to uphold the ban.

Any change to the Measure W ballot language allowing exemptions must occur at least 88 days before the election. That makes March 8 the last regularly scheduled board meeting where that change can happen.

"This is an opportunity for the county to show compassion for patients like Silas Hurd, who have intractable epilepsy," Burke said in an email. "It is not about commercial cultivation, as an exception to Measure W for children like Silas could be the difference between life and death. I, of course, hope the Supervisors agree to consider this important item on March 8."

According to Miller, a supervisor or member of county staff must sponsor an agenda item for it to be placed on the board's agenda.

County officials will discuss the March 8 agenda this Monday.

Burke's request asks for one of two changes.

The first would allow for limited exceptions to Measure W for non-commercial outdoor grows for children diagnosed with intractable epilepsy, which Silas has.

The second proposal would give supervisors the power to approve special use permits, variances and other exceptions to Measure W.

"My overall goal is to use our situation to advocate for responsible law-making," Hurd said. "My family and other families are frankly tired of the problems with commercial cannabis being used as an excuse."

Hurd on Feb. 19 created the HOPE Committee Against Measure W, a political group opposed to the outdoor ban. It intends to open a campaign account at Tri Counties Bank.

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