Our View: Compromise is key to developing new marijuana rules
December 22, 2017
You could take the words of the county's cannabis facilitator at this week's marijuana community advisory group meeting as comforting or threatening:
"This afternoon isn't the end of the process," said Daniel Iacofano, with MIG Inc., Tuesday afternoon.
Some people in the community without a doubt want the process of creating a new cannabis ordinance to finish quickly, allowing growers to get back to work. Others want more time to build the perfect set of rules.
What's likely is something between those two poles.
The citizen’s pot panel may have held its final meeting, but there’s still plenty of work to do.
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It's been almost two years since the Nevada County Board of Supervisors passed the emergency ordinance that implemented a total outdoor ban. About 18 months have passed since voters turned down Measure W, which would have cemented that ban. And seven months have passed since the first meeting of the advisory group, the 16-member panel given the task of creating recommendations for a new cannabis ordinance.
County officials now anticipate they'll miss a self-imposed March deadline to have the new rules in place. We're nearing the goal posts, but despite pressure from some, this process likely won't end in the next three months.
The citizen's pot panel may have held its final meeting, but there's still plenty of work to do.
MIG must take 10 meetings' worth of input and compile a report and ordinance recommendations for the Board of Supervisors, which will hold what's certain to be a healthy meeting on Jan. 9.
Supervisors can add, delete or alter those recommendations before forwarding them to county staff, which will write a draft ordinance based on them.
The ordinance then will proceed to the Planning Commission before reaching supervisors for a final vote. Expect public hearings at both those meetings.
Grow supporters expressed outrage when supervisors in January 2016 pushed through the emergency ordinance that banned all outdoor gardens, as officials should have expected. That was an example of government moving too fast for its own good, and it resulted in our elected leaders getting bit.
The current slow, steady and deliberative process is what our county needs if it's to make grow rules everyone can live with.
Because regardless of what shape those rules take, we'll all still live here.
Compromise is key to success — another reason to repeatedly hear from the public and take the time to do this right.
The give-and-take required by compromise will help placate some hard feelings that continue to permeate our county.
You can already see the spirit of compromise from both sides of the marijuana aisle.
Supervisor Ed Scofield, a vocal supporter of Measure W, talked about it in a recent column. Mark Schaefer, an executive member of the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, answered that column with one of his own, calling Scofield's new opinion "refreshing."
Stances like these are how our community will reach an end to the ordinance-writing process that, while not making one group or another happy, will provide rules that everyone can live with.
And that's something all of us, regardless of our cannabis leanings, should want.
The weekly Our View column represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.