THE PRESS DEMOCRAT Supervisors discuss pot limit proposal
UKIAH -- A proposal to limit the number of medical marijuana plants that can be grown in unincorporated areas of Mendocino County was praised and condemned Tuesday at a Board of Supervisors meeting.
The proposal would allow no more than 25 plants on any parcel in unincorporated areas. The county currently allows up to 25 plants to be grown per medical marijuana user.
Many pot growers say they supply multiple people, resulting in gardens with far more than 25 plants.
The proposed ordinance says growing more than 25 plants constitutes a nuisance both because of the skunklike smell and the prospect for burglaries, robberies and other crimes.
Marijuana advocates called the proposal unfair and illegal and vowed to sue if it's adopted.
"The ordinance is so wrong in so many ways," said Keith Faulder, a former county prosecutor who now represents medical marijuana users.
But a growing number of Mendocino County residents are coming forward to demand limits on pot cultivation.
"I'm hearing from all over the county, enough is enough," Supervisor Jim Wattenburger said.
Critics say Mendocino County's permissive policy attracts people who make a living growing marijuana under the guise of supplying medicine.
It's a "medical marijuana hoax," said Dennis Smart, who, with a contingent of rural residents, attended the meeting to plead with supervisors to place limits on the growing marijuana industry they say is ruining their neighborhoods.
Members of the Robinson Creek Road Association -- many of whom initially supported legalizing pot for medical reasons -- said large-scale production is denying them the ability to enjoy their land.
Animals are being shot for wandering into gardens, pot irrigation is causing water tables to drop, and traffic is increasing with the steady flow of drug dealers, said Matt Davis.
"People are getting fed up," he said.
Mike Nemeth said the proposed ordinance would be unfair to people like him who moved to Mendocino County after researching its pot policies.
"It would be an injustice not to be able to do what we came here to do," said Nemeth, who said he wants to grow pot because some of his family members are beginning to age and he wants to help them if they develop ailments.
The board will resume discussion of the proposed ordinance in December.
By GLENDA ANDERSON
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