Hemig: Join us for a Measure S debate | TheUnion.com
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Hemig: Join us for a Measure S debate

Jim Hemig Publisher The Union
John Hart/jhart@theunion.com | The Union

Know & Go

What: Measure S public forum, hosted by The Union and KVMR

Who: Americans for Safe Access Nevada County Chair Patricia Smith, attorney Stephen Munkelt and Dr. Sean Devlin in support of Measure S; Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal, Don Bessee a representative of the International Faith Based Coalition, and County Counsel Alison Barat-Green in opposition of Measure S.

When: 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 23

Where: Board of Supervisors’ Chambers, Eric Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Avenue, Nevada City.

Nevada County voters will decide between two radically opposing viewpoints of Measure S on Nov. 4.

Measure S is a proposed revision to the county’s existing medical marijuana cultivation ordinance.

This will likely be a heated topic as we proceed to the election. Undoubtedly a lot of information will be flowing from both sides of this controversial issue.



The Union has been covering this topic for many months now. An article on Aug. 19 summed up the differing viewpoints well:

I will not be opening the floor to questions. In an effort of fairness, I will only be asking the debate participants pre-screened questions I have received. So please email me questions prior to the debate.

Patricia Smith, chair of “Yes on S” and a leader of Americans for Safe Access-Nevada County, maintains that the existing ordinance is intentionally impossible to follow for people who want to comply and be legitimate growers of medical marijuana and who want to be considerate of neighbors.




“Measure S solves these flaws with sensible solutions by: banning outdoor cultivation on residential parcels under 2 acres; requiring that any garden visible from ground level be confined behind a solid fence with a locked gate; allowing terraced hillside gardens; and removing outdated, abandoned bus restrictions,” the ballot argument in favor of Measure S says.

Smith said the two main examples of impossible-to-meet requirements in the existing ordinance are those calling for completely level and flat growing areas and the use of abandoned school bus stop locations for setbacks. Both of those are corrected in the proposed revision. But the county’s argument, signed by four of five members of the board of supervisors, Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal and Ariel Lovett, director of the Coalition for a Drug-Free Nevada County, has a different view.

“Measure S dramatically changes regulations regarding size, location and manner in which marijuana may be cultivated and removes important neighborhood protections from nuisances associated with larger marijuana grows, including: odors, noise, dust, traffic, glare and hazardous materials,” the county’s argument says.

How should people in our county vote? How can we get information to make a good voting decision?

Here’s an answer:

The Union and KVMR are hosting a Measure S public debate from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 23, at the Board of Supervisors’ Chambers, Eric Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Avenue, Nevada City.

I will be moderating the debate. The public is encouraged to attend and the debate can be heard live on KVMR and watched on NCTV.

The debate will feature one of the Measure S authors, Patricia Smith, as well as attorney Stephen Munkelt and Dr. Sean Devlin in support of Measure S.

One of those responsible for the original ordinance, Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal, along with Don Bessee, a representative of the International Faith Based Coalition, and County Counsel Alison Barat-Green will represent the opposition of Measure S.

My goal is to administer a fair debate providing each team equal speaking time. The debate structure will include a standard team debate format. My intention is to maximize the time both teams talk and minimize dead air or talking from the audience. The debate format will include a speech-style session, allowing each team member a chance to share their specific information as well as rebuttal time to the other team’s arguments. I believe people will want to hear the information provided from both teams rather than points made by the moderator or audience.

The debate will start promptly at 6 p.m. and last roughly one and a half hours. I am reserving an additional 30-45 minutes for questions from The Union newspaper readers. If you have a question you’d like me to ask, both those who support and those who oppose Measure S, please send me an email at jhemig@theunion.com. Please include your name and city or town, as I will reference your information during the debate.

I will not be opening the floor to questions. In an effort of fairness, I will only be asking the debate participants pre-screened questions I have received. So please email me questions prior to the debate.

Join us for the Measure S debate. You will be a more informed voter as a result.

Jim Hemig is publisher at The Union. Contact him via email at jhemig@theunion.com or at 530-477-4299.


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