Petition aims to put medicinal pot initiative on ballot
October 12, 2013
It is sadly ironic that "Ken Roberts" (not his real name) objects so strongly to the smell of marijuana when it could be the very thing that could cure his terminal cancer (The Union, Oct. 5). At the very least, it could alleviate his discomfort, and many patients report that it gives them a sense of well-being.
For some patients, cannabis is a better alternative for treating pain than harmful pharmaceutical opiates. In fact, I would be willing to help him find a CBD tincture that will not produce a high but will help ease his pain (if he obtains a valid doctor's recommendation to use cannabis).
I'm truly sorry that Ken is one of the people who find the smell of cannabis objectionable, but it is an exaggeration to say that the smell occurs throughout the summer when the odor comes from flower buds that don't start maturing until mid-August. The smell doesn't usually become noticeable from a distance until early September, and it's over by the end of October. On the other hand, livestock smells year round.
Americans for Safe Access – Nevada County (ASA-NC) has been circulating a petition for a special election to replace the current cultivation ordinance. We worked for two years on a compromise that would allow most patients the ability to grow enough medicine for their own needs but also would consider neighbors' rights to the quiet enjoyment of their homes.
But my primary objection to the (current) ordinance is that it restricts too many patients from being able to grow their own medicine, which is the best way to be sure of its purity.
Paul Hoefler, as the head of the Alta Sierra Property Association, has declared his group's support for the cultivation ordinance, (The Union, Oct. 4).
Since the members of the ASPOA are holding a recall election to oust him and have filed a lawsuit for the return of misappropriated funds, I hardly think he speaks for the association.
I don't mind that the ASPOA board opposes our initiative, but I wish its members could support their position with facts.
May I go on record to say that our initiative will not allow 99-plant grows in Alta Sierra, contrary to an email sent out by one of the board members. Our initiative does not allow 99-plant grows anywhere in the county.
We cap the maximum plant count at 60 for collectives who grow on ag parcels over 30 acres and who have at least 10 qualified members (six plants per patient). Outdoor cultivation on residential parcels under two acres is banned by our initiative, which would cover most of Alta Sierra. Since our initiative doesn't affect their neighborhood, I wonder what their real objections are.
The current ordinance is so full of "poison pills" that it is virtually impossible to comply with every regulation. The square foot restrictions are arbitrary and too small to accommodate a healthy garden. Living in hill country, it is extremely difficult to grow on a "flat, level plane" like the ordinance mandates.
Adding in the school bus-stop zones (a restriction that neither the federal or state governments require), eliminates 90 percent of the properties in Nevada County, according to a Durham Bus employee who wishes to remain anonymous. Making the location of bus stops available to the public puts children at risk of predators.
But my primary objection to the ordinance is that it restricts too many patients from being able to grow their own medicine, which is the best way to be sure of its purity. To say that you can buy it on any street corner is a disservice to qualified patients, many of whom are fighting debilitating diseases.
Until we have a dispensary in Nevada County, patients who can't grow their own medicine (by restrictions or otherwise) need the help of legitimate collectives to grow what they need for them.
The current cultivation ordinance acknowledges collectives but does not allow an extra inch of space to grow for members. Judge Dowling awarded ASA-NC $14,400 in legal fees because we prevailed on this issue during our lawsuit against the county.
We have crossed the 75-percent mark of the necessary signatures to qualify our initiative. Whether you support the current ordinance or our initiative,
I hope that everyone signs the petition so we get the chance to vote on the issue. Signing the petition does not take a pro or con position — that's done at the ballot box — signing only says that you believe the citizens of Nevada County should have the final say on this issue.
If you would like to help with our petition drive, please contact us at 530-270-9273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patricia Smith is chairperson for Americans for Safe Access, Nevada County.