Indoor commercial cannabis grows still on table in Nevada City |

Indoor commercial cannabis grows still on table in Nevada City

After a move to amend Nevada City’s medical cannabis ordinance to prohibit indoor cultivation failed — after a contentious discussion among the city’s council members — staff has been directed to bring back recommended language for possible grow size limits.

Another proposed amendment regarding setbacks was vetoed Wednesday with a decision to abide by the current ordinance language.

Mayor Duane Strawser had brought both changes to the table at the March 1 council meeting. Strawser said he wanted to clarify potential limits on indoor cultivation, even though no cultivation licenses have been requested in Nevada City.

But when a proposed year-long moratorium was brought to the council for a public hearing Wednesday, new issues cropped up.

According to grower Basil McMahon, the prohibition would disqualify cannabis processing and nursery businesses. He said those ancillary businesses are crucial to the success of the cannabis industry and urged the council members to preserve those licensing opportunities.

Council member Evans Phelps said she was not opposed to mid-sized grows, adding that she was unhappy with the continued efforts to tweak the ordinance.

“We need to come up with a compromise,” Strawser said, adding that he doesn’t want to preclude processing and nursery businesses but is concerned about leaving the door open for overly large grows.

In the end, the council members directed staff to come up with some size limitation alternatives.

Any potential change to the ordinance regarding the proximity of cannabis businesses to “youth centers” was taken off the table.

Strawser had sought new language clarifying what constitutes a youth center, and whether setbacks should be measured by property line or by storefront.

A suggestion by Strawser Wednesday to postpone a decision on that issue, due to the absence of council member Reinette Senum and several unnamed cannabis business proponents, met with protests from those in the audience,

“We want to see this move forward,” Nevada County Cannabis Alliance Director Diana Gamzon said.

Alliance board member Jonathan Collier told the board the concerns being raised had already been hashed over, saying, “Let’s address problems when they become real.”

Phelps moved to not amend the ordinance; the motion passed by unanimous vote to applause from the audience.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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