Nevada County officials look to special May 1 meeting on marijuana | TheUnion.com

Nevada County officials look to special May 1 meeting on marijuana

Nevada County supervisors are considering a special May 1 meeting to focus on an anticipated draft cannabis ordinance — the first time supervisors will see the proposed pot rules.

Initially expecting to see the draft ordinance May 8, supervisors now hope to view the document at a meeting with marijuana as its sole focus. Supervisors will hear from the public and add their own tweaks to the draft ordinance before returning it to county staff for further revisions, Supervisor Ed Scofield said.

The meeting will allow time for a robust discussion on the ordinance, as opposed to having it as one of many agenda items on the regular May 8 agenda.

"They feel it'll be ready by the first," Scofield said of the draft ordinance.

The May 1 date isn't set, as officials must first determine whether all supervisors can attend, he added.

"I think it's a positive move toward providing solutions to an issue that's sort of taking a long time to resolve itself," said Maria Herrera, communications director of the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance.

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Herrera said she supports a meeting with cannabis as its focus. It would give supervisors and the public the chance to fully discuss the California Environmental Quality Act, which officials have said requires the environmental report.

"No matter how thin you slice it, it's a positive thing to have these conversations," Herrera said.

Scofield said he knows both supervisors and grow advocates will want changes to the draft.

"I know there are some questions on both sides," he added.

Scofield said he'd like staff to then add the changes to what would become the final ordinance.

Officials still intend to complete an environmental impact report for the ordinance, a process they've said could take several months.

"I don't want it to be seen as a delay," Scofield said.

County officials said they knew the ordinance would need some level of environmental review. They opted for a full environmental report was required after supervisors decided to allow commercial medicinal grows.

That report, with an estimated $350,000 cost, will take months to complete. The passage of a new grow ordinance now is expected late this year or in 2019.

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