January 25, 2013 | Back to: Columns

Think you’re in the know? Take the pot quiz.

As a former member of Nevada County’s Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance Working Group, I’m disappointed by how poorly our community is served by local media and Sheriff Keith Royal when it comes to the topic of marijuana. To illustrate our community’s knowledge vacuum, take this test:

1. Royal used the number of citizen complaints logged in 2011 as justification for seeking an “emergency” ordinance. In media reports quoting him, how many complaints/day did his office supposedly log:

a) several

b) 20-25

c) 30-40

d) all of the above

2. When members of the Ordinance Working Group wondered about the complaint totals, a request was made to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office for help verifying Royal’s claims. Their reply was:

a) they never responded

b) the information is classified

c) a lost binder of documented 2011 citizen complaints was found in storage

d) the 2011 numbers were made up, no one really recorded them

3. In response to a public records request to produce documentation of every medical cannabis garden-related complaint from 2011, how many documented complaints did the sheriff produce:

a) 0

b) 57

c) 157

d) 517

4. With the ordinance in place, the NCSO reported almost 300 complaints during the 2012 grow season, telling reporters that was an “increase” over 2011 (when it claimed getting dozens of complaints/day). For 2012, this averages how many complaints/day:

a) 1-2

b) 30-35

c) 45-50

d) 75-80

5. On Nov. 8, 2011, the Board of Supervisors asked Royal to create an Ordinance Working Group and submit a draft ordinance in four months. With a four-month deadline, how often did he convene the group during the first two months:

a) 12 hours total over 4 meetings

b) 9 hours over 3 meetings

c) 6 hours over 2 meetings

d) 0 hours/no meetings

6. In the entire initial four-month drafting period from Nov. 8 to March 8, how much total time did the 12-person Working Group meet:

a) 4 hrs.

b) 14 hrs.

c) 20 hrs.

d) 24 hrs.

7. After the second Working Group meeting Feb. 3, with more than a month remaining in the drafting period, Royal announced he would call no further meetings. After that, how much time elapsed before he released his draft ordinance:

a) 2.5 hours

b) 2.5 days

c) 2.5 weeks

d) 2.5 months

8. The explicit purpose of the Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance is to:

a) allow for faster removal of illegal gardens without going to court

b) identify when a garden is “illegal/commercial” vs. “legal/medicinal”

c) remove “commercial” gardens from residential areas

d) identify and address when otherwise-legal gardens are a nuisance

9. Law enforcement estimates Nevada County has more than 1,000 cannabis gardens. Then based on 2012 complaints, what percent weren’t a nuisance (were not visited by NCSO complaint team):

a) 25-30 percent

b) 45-50 percent

c) 50-55 percent

d) 90-95 percent

10. According to the NCSO, total gardens destroyed via ordinance:

a) 0

b) 9

c) 19

d) 91

11. The Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance applies to what parts of Nevada County:

a) Everywhere

b) Only residential areas

c) Only within city limits (only GV/NC/Truckee)

d) Only unincorporated areas (not GV/NC/Truckee)

12. In addition to county law enforcement writing the ordinance, since 2001 they’ve issued their own internal guidelines — as unlicensed medical non-experts — for how much cannabis each patient should have and how much they should grow. Local media usually refers to these internal guidelines as Nevada County’s official “limits” for medical marijuana. Can someone be arrested and charged with exceeding law enforcement’s internal guidelines:

a) Yes

b) No

13. In 2012 in Nevada County, how many incidents of violence, DUI or crime were a result of marijuana’s immediate drug effects on its users (not the rip-offs, crime and violence caused by its prohibition):

a) 0-3

b) 10-20

c) 25-35

d) 40-50

14. In 2012, how many incidents of violence, DUI or crime occurred in Nevada County due to alcohol’s immediate drug effects on its recreational users:

a) 75-100

b) 100-150

c) 175-200

d) 200-300

15. According to Nevada County’s 2012 Health Status Report, what percent of our adults are considered regular recreational drug users (defined as drinking alcohol in the past month):

a) almost 15%

b) around 35%

c) around 50%

d) almost 80%

Answers: 1-D, 2-D, 3-A, 4-A, 5-D, 6-A, 7-D, 8-D, 9-D, 10-B, 11-D, 12-B, 13-A, 14-D, 15-D

Extra credit: If media repeat claims the NCSO makes about marijuana, does that automatically mean they’re true?

So how’d you do?

Martin Webb lives in Penn Valley.

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Martin Webb


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The Union Updated Jan 25, 2013 10:42PM Published Jan 25, 2013 10:42PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.