The Board of Supervisors heard two appeals of medical marijuana-growing abatement notices this week, denying one and postponing the other for further study.
The hearings were the second and third since Tehama County adopted its medicinal cannabis cultivation ordinance in April 2010.
In the first matter Tuesday, sheriff's Deputy Jeff Garrett said based on an anonymous complaint he visited Bend-area resident Lidia Hardy in late May and found 94 plants on the 6-acre parcel. The ordinance allows a maximum of 12 mature plants or 24 immature plants on 20 or fewer acres.
But Chico attorney Michael Rooney, citing recent court cases, argued the county's rules are invalid because they pre-empt federal law.
"This particular ordinance is ripe to be overturned," Rooney said.
"I do appreciate Mr. Rooney's position," said Assistant County Counsel Alan Cox, but argued the pre-emption issue was "irrelevant." Also appearing before the board was Red Bluff Realtor Ken Robison, Hardy's landlord.
Saying he supported the county's stance, he told supervisors the appeal was "a waste of all of our time" and handed Hardy what he said was a three-day notice to address unrelated issues or vacate the property. Robison also advised he was adding a prohibition against cultivating cannabis to rental agreements at his property-management office.
In the end, the board unanimously denied the appeal and declared Hardy's garden a public nuisance, ordering the plants removed.
Linda and Wally Humphrey of Gerber were granted a continuance, however, after they were notified their medical marijuana plot was too close to a school bus stop. Armed with numerous photographs, the Humphreys argued there were several fences and gates separating the patch from surrounding property.
"You can't even see my grow area," Wally Humphrey told supervisors. "I don't understand where the public nuisance is."
Garrett told the board the Tehama Avenue property line is about 600 feet from a school bus stop at Highway 99 west, a violation of the 1,000-foot minimum set forth in the county's law. But after further discussion, the board opted to continue the hearing until July 17 for verification that the bus stop is a formally designated one by the school superintendent.
Supervisors heard — and denied — its first appeal in October, over proximity of a Red Bluff grow to a school and church.
It could not be determined Wednesday how many notices to abate medical marijuana had been served since the ordinance was passed, but the intention was that such action be complaint-driven. When appeals are denied, if the property owner or occupant does not remove the plants in question, the county can charge for the cost to do so.
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Author: Janet O'Neill
Contact: Staff and Contacts for Redding Record Searchlight
Website: Tehama considers appeals of county's medical marijuana law » Redding Record Searchlight