Our View: Nevada County should take creation of marijuana ordinance slow
May 4, 2018
Kicking and screaming, Nevada County will be brought into a legal cannabis marketplace.
We've come a long way from January 2016, when the Board of Supervisors implemented a total outdoor grow ban and put the issue on that June's ballot. This week they approved moving forward with a temporary licensing system for medicinal commercial grows. That system could be ready by July 1.
You've got to admit: that's a far cry from a countywide outdoor ban and a prohibition on all commercial activity.
We should give a hat tip to those who have brought us to this point. Those accolades go to supervisors, their staff and the community advisory group that spent seven months digging into the creation of a new grow ordinance. Community members who continually have pushed supervisors on this issue deserve kudos as well.
Kicking and screaming we might be, but the struggle is producing actual results.
We know there are plenty of folks unhappy with the speed this process is taking. Measure W failed in June 2016. It's a fair question to ask why we don't have an ordinance in place two years later.
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It's also fair to say a majority of this community doesn't want to repeat this process because we didn't get it right the first time.
Supervisor Ed Scofield made that point at Tuesday's supervisors meeting. Take it slow and do things properly.
That means taking another look at where medical commercial grows are allowed.
Supervisors decided against even looking at the possibility of having grows in residential agricultural zones. They erred and should at least include that in an environmental impact report that will take months to complete.
Take your time, do things right, look at all the options.
Eliminating residential agricultural grows will significantly impact people who want to follow the law. Some folks pleading with supervisors for a pathway to legality could get pushed back into the shadows. The last thing we want is an ordinance that only enables the black market to flourish and hurts our own chances at a robust economy that includes legal cannabis.
Growers have pleaded for an ordinance they can follow. Supervisors shouldn't kowtow to them, but neither should they dismiss these pleas.
And neither should we — the growers, marijuana opponents and everyone in between — let this process continue without giving some input of our own.
Our community hasn't been shy when it comes to letting supervisors, and everybody else, know how it feels. But we're in a rare spot right now with a looming June 5 election.
Our elected leaders must act in the best interests of our county, but they also must follow the wishes of their constituents. This is a tightrope they walk every four years when seeking office. Marijuana likely will have some impact when District 3 residents cast their vote for supervisor.
They should think about the future they want when they make their decision.
Legal medical commercial cannabis grows will become reality in Nevada County, but it's up to us to determine what shape they will take. We can impact their locations, their numbers and a host of other factors through our voice and our vote.
Because if we don't decide the shape of our future, regardless of how much we kick and scream, someone else will.
Our View is 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.