Nevada County marijuana: Governor signs AB21 into law, removes March 1 deadline |

Nevada County marijuana: Governor signs AB21 into law, removes March 1 deadline

A deadline that led cities and counties across the state to implement marijuana restrictions before March 1 is now gone, removing one argument for why Nevada County needed to hurry in passing its own pot regulations.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed AB21 into law. The legislation, which removed the March 1 deadline, was meant to correct a drafting error included in last year’s sweeping statewide law regulating medical marijuana.

The deadline was removed immediately after Brown signed the bill into law.

“Now that we have given local officials the time to take a thoughtful approach to regulating medical marijuana, I hope they will maximize that time by engaging with the public and having thorough discussions,” said Assemblyman Jim Wood, who sponsored the bill, in a release.

“To my knowledge, it’s not going to change anything. (The local ban) will stay in effect until it goes to the voters in June.”Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Smethers

Sheriff Keith Royal on Jan. 12 used the uncertain fate of AB21 as a reason for the Board of Supervisors to pass an immediate outdoor cultivation ban and restrict indoor grows to 12 plants. The board that day implemented the sheriff’s recommendation.

Supervisors also put the ban on the June 7 ballot, when voters will decide whether to uphold it.

“To my knowledge, it’s not going to change anything,” said sheriff’s Lt. Bill Smethers of AB21’s passage. “(The local ban) will stay in effect until it goes to the voters in June.”

Attorney Melissa Sanchez, who represents some Nevada County growers, called Brown’s action “fantastic.” She expects a large crowd at the Board of Supervisors’ Tuesday meeting, when supervisors are expected to vote on a resolution about the June ballot measure. The resolution will clarify the board’s intention to obey the voters’ will if the ballot measure fails.

Sanchez said she’d prefer growers work with authorities about cultivation instead of pushing the issue to a vote.

“They want the supervisors to know that they’re there and they want the supervisors to work with them,” Sanchez said of cultivation supporters. “Their livelihoods are at risk.”

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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