Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Supervisors discuss pot limit proposal

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.


h/t Robin: Pot activist likely knew killers
Police believe gunmen who robbed Laytonville man familiar with home
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  1. Anderson Valley Advertiser September 19, 2007
    Marijuana Imperialism & Patrick Fourmy
    by Bruce Anderson

    When the Drug Enforcement Agency raided a large-scale marijuana grow three weeks ago on Navarro Ridge Road, neighbors of the pot gardens were very pleased. The owner of the gardens, a Santa Barbara man named Patrick Fourmy, his neighbors say, has not been a good neighbor. Most of the year Fourmy isn't a neighbor at all. He's busy in Santa Barbara where he operates two medical marijuana clinics called "The Compassion Center" on whose oversight board sits Joe Allen, a former Mendocino County District Attorney.

    Fourmy's Navarro Ridge Road farm supplies his Santa Barbara clinics. In theory, each plant is documented as medicinal, and each is destined for a single patient. In practice, who knows where it all goes, but Fourmy's defenders, and Fourmy himself, say he's a heckuva swell guy, an idealist who grows the plant in industrial greenhouses on Navarro Ridge five and a half miles east of Highway One to help beat back human suffering.

    Neighbors aren't buying it. "He's one of these cool guys who makes a lot of money growing dope but wants to be loved, too," a neighbor says. "To hear him tell it he saved Salmon Creek and he works with Bonnie Raitt to save the environment. He drops show biz names like we're all supposed to be impressed. So far as I'm concerned he's just another SUV-driving hustler."

    The marijuana industry, for years Mendocino County's primary cash crop, exists in a curious local limbo. A registered pot patient in Mendocino County can legally possess 25 mature female plants plus two pounds of processed medicine which, as many people have pointed out, is an awful lot of medicine to keep around the house, especially given that about a pound is as much as the average smoker consumes in a year. But anybody can get him or herself a medical marijuana card these days simply by making an appointment with the right doctor. The permission slips cost $150. Mr. Fourmy, in theory, grows pot only for people with permission. The problem for him and other medical marijuana entrepreneurs is the federal government. The feds say marijuana is illegal. Period. Mendocino County says, "Well, it's kinda illegal, but if you have your pot card and your plant patch is registered with us, we're not going to bother you."

    Mendocino County, as police policy, only goes after those growers who operate completely outside the system, and goes after grows the size of Fourmy's and much larger who don't bother to pretend to be supplying medicinal marijuana clinics. And Mendocino County prosecutes only the largest growers — if they're arrested, and not many are.

    There are almost no pot prosecutions in the local justice system's pipeline at this time.

    Many of the largest growers are Mexican immigrants and/or Mexican nationals organized into criminal syndicates. The DEA says that these syndicates, who grow on Mendocino County's vast public lands or on the county's larger ranches with or without the land owner's permission, recycle part of their annual pot profits into the importation of methamphetamine, also a prevalent drug in Mendocino County and everywhere else in the country. Marijuana is now so prevalent in the county that city prices per pound are said to be down from $5,000 for high octane Mendo Mellow to about $2,500

    The huge grows are heavily armed. Fourmy's grow, from all accounts, was not defended by the usual dogs and guns, although a single friendly pitbull was on the property when the place was raided by the DEA three weeks ago. If Fourmy's grow was not defended with guns from the thieves infesting the Northcoast at this time of the year when the plants are being harvested, his is an unusual grow. Security is a huge consideration for even mom and pop gardens, but a public operation beside a lonely country road that produces thousands of pounds of primo dope with no guns is, well, unprecedented in Pot World.

    Fourmy was not present when the DEA's raid team visited his three properties on Navarro Ridge Road. When he bought his properties on the Ridge seven years ago Fourmy, who is said to pay his workers up to five thousand dollars a month, hired locals to do his heavy lifting. "But he's such a jerk nobody around here will work for him no matter how much he pays," a critic says. For the last three or four years Fourmy's staff has been recruited out of Santa Barbara.

    As a Boonville man expressed his frustration with outside people doing bad things to the neighborhood, "I don't like it that the Napa wine mafia has taken over Anderson Valley, and I don't like all these outside crooks coming up here to grow pot."

    Why doesn't Fourmy grow in Santa Barbara County? He's told his Navarro Ridge neighbors he doesn't grow in Santa Barbara because land is too expensive there. Land on the Mendocino Coast isn't exactly cheap, not that Fourmy would seem to be strapped for investment cash. It seems more likely that Fourmy is here because there are fewer people here to object. Local gossip also says that Fourmy "is some kind of trust funder, a rich kid who grew up in a wealthy Santa Barbara family. He probably doesn't even need to grow dope."

    Neighbors are happy that Fourmy is at least temporarily out of business on Navarro Ridge Road.

    "I never saw any guns up there," one of Fourmy's many estranged neighbors says. "The guy's never there except for three to four times a year when he's shipping dope out. I've seen him here at Thanksgiving, though, maybe for four or five days. But he's never lived here and locals won't work for him anymore. He's a jerk, a total jerk. This was a peaceful, quiet rural road, then this guy moves in and all of a sudden we've got huge greenhouses, night lights and big, industrial greenhouse fans. And traffic like never before. All the medical marijuana scripts he has are for Santa Barbara. None of them are for people in Mendocino County."

    Neighbors are down on Fourmy but say that "the people who work for him were nice. He was not." One neighbor who ran afoul of Fourmy was offered six thousand dollars to move. When the neighbor turned the offer down, Fourmy tried to buy the property from his critic's landlord. "He'd insult me then he'd say, 'Let's heal this,' and try to give me gifts. That was after he tried to buy me out."

    "There are cars and trucks up and down the road year round now," another neighbor complains. "Since the big bust, though, there's a noticeable decrease in traffic and the noise from his goddamn greenhouses. He grows year round, with more being grown indoors all the time, but most of it is still grown outdoors. Before he put up his big grow fence you could see it from the road, which is why I'm real skeptical about no guns. You mean to tell me you can see pot right from the road like a big corn field and he has no way to protect it other than the unarmed people who live there? He's definitely a big time grower. But the worst thing he did was wreck the wetlands up here. Fourmy plowed over the wetlands and brought in at least a hundred 18-wheelers with huge piles of soil that he dumped right on top of the wetlands for these big earthen growing pads. He's bringing urban here. It feels like San Jose up here, and when he says he didn't have any Mexican workers, well, I know everyone around here, including Mexicans, and the Mexicans on his place were not locals. I don't know where they were from."

    Just this last spring Fourmy invested another big chunk of money in his 13-acre grow site, one of the three properties he owns on Navarro Ridge Road. Beginning in February, neighbors say, construction was constant. Fourmy's critics suspect the construction occurred outside the local permit process,

    But since the big bust, the Navarro Ridge Road is quiet again. "And," says one of his detractors, "we hope it stays that way. This needed to happen to Fourmy. He couldn't have done all this stuff in Santa Barbara and, hopefully, he won't be back to do it here."

  2. Thanks, mresquan. Alot of people who voted for "compassionate use" had no idea what the repercussions would be....

    Look at Schectman's grow site - he's essentially putting in a PLANTATION. Let's hear from all the critics who use the "starter castles" and little kingdoms" - the ones who hate industry and wealth - think about the mega bucks, no taxes - add in the environmental degradation you all profess to care so much about...

    Where's "Humboldt Watershed Council" when you need 'em?

    It does explain that odd connection to the Hoopa area/the tribes, though...

  3. I'll try to dig up a prior post I put up on Eric's blog awhile back expressing my concerns about the lack of action taken on pot growing in watersheds by the HWC.
    In a recent conversation I had with Jimmy Smith,he told me that one reason he didn't take a stand on Rodoni's proposal on pot legalization was his concern about unrestricted mega grows occurring in watersheds and the lack of studying done to identify its environmental impacts.I thought his concern was fair enough,despite my wish to see outright legalization.

  4. I wonder what the effect of legalization would be. We tend to view it through our own prism, thinking everyone else is like us - like "medical" pot would be for cancer patients who needed it to get the munchies so they would eat enough tostay alive - or, at its worst would be some college students scoring a lid - no one thought about the criminal element, houses filled up with dirt, mold, generators, gasoline, butane, and illegal wiring, wrecking other people's property, drug cartels, people getting shot, pit bulls...

    We think legalization would make it like booze and tobacco plantaions, branding and "cigarette" packs... I'm no longer sure we know what to expect.

    But I no longer believe int he goodness of people when it comes to this topic. It's not the innocence of the 60s and 70s.

  5. robin shelley11/08/2007 7:05 AM

    I was going to send you the PD & AVA articles, Rose. Glad you & Mark beat me to it. This is such an emotional topic for me. Mendocino Co. - specifically, Laytonville - was my home for 50 years... & now it's not.

    I don't know Mike Nemeth but what he says speaks volumes: he says the proposed ordinance would be unfair to people like him who moved to Mendocino Co. specifically to grow dope & then has the balls to try to justify his drug dealer status by saying he wants to grow dope because some of his relatives are getting old & HE wants to HELP them IF they development ailments. Screw education! Screw research! Now everybody's a doctor & pharmacist! I wonder how much he will charge his ailing family members if & when they need his services.

    On one hand, I'm glad to see somebody finally stand up & publically declare themselves a drug dealer because I think the discussion about the abuse of Prop. 215 is needed. But, on the other hand, his bullshit excuse detracts from anything useful he might have to say on the subject. I have yet to hear any old time, longtime growers stand up for legalizing pot. Some of the newcomers who have spoken out are... well, gone. Google the name Les Crane & read that story as an example of what I'm talking about. Crane was very outspoken about what he was doing. Some people kicked in his door one night, shot & killed him, left two witnesses & still have not been found. The general consensus in Laytonville is that the moral to the Crane story is "let that be a lesson to you".

    The sheriff of Mendocino Co. is a Humboldt Co. boy by the name of Tom Allman. Anybody go to South Fork High with him? Twenty years ago, when I was a reporter & he was a deputy, I would have described Tom as the straightest arrow in the quiver so his slouching posture on the pot problem today surprises me.

    Humboldt Co. citizens need to keep a close eye on what's happening to the south because, as long as Gallegos is in office, there is a very real danger of the exact same thing happening in Humboldt.

  6. I thought of you, Robin, when I read those articles -

    Look at this:
    MCOE Special Education
    1120 S. Dora Street Ukiah, CA 95482 (707) 472-2600. Special Education. Administrative Staff ... Michael Nemeth, School Counselor, 707-467-5066 ...
    Map of 1120 S Dora St, Ukiah, CA 95482

    Is that the same guy? The one who moved there to grow dope? And he's a school counselor?

  7. GREEN? 11/07/00 General Election Michael Nemeth
    City Council, Cotati (Sonoma County)
    Complete Race Results Not Elected
    Place: 8 ...13 running for 3 seats
    410 votes, 6%

    I would have thought that you wouldn't run for office if you were doing something illegal - yet, look at Schectman... he ran for DA (well, ok, sorta, he ran so that he would become DA IF the Recall against Gallegos succeeded, so he really didn't have to run a camapign, he was just there to lampoon the other candidates and turn the whole thing into a circus).... BUT...

  8. robin shelley11/08/2007 8:12 AM

    The PD article is the first I've ever heard of Mike Nemeth but I wouldn't be surprised if he is a counselor for the MCOE. That agency is a joke, too. Mendocino Co. is a country unto its own.

  9. Way to go Robin !!! Humboldt is almost as bad as Mendo.

    I don't know Allman but heard he was a good guy. But he is ELECTED as the sheriff of Mendo and to stay elected he has to bend over and grab his ankles for the dope growers or they will get him voted out, or maybe get the DA to indict him for something one of his deputies may or may not have done. There are sooooo many of them. Just like the jerk that is complaining about "it's not fair", he moved to Mendo because of the liberal legalized stance on dope. I'm sure he sells his dope out of the county.

  10. I read the article on Les Crane's muirder. 3 years ago he moved there from Florida, a crack addict with $200 ! He had prperty in Laytonville and on the coast! And just befdore he was killed he gave away 600 turkey's and operated a youth center?

    What is up with this? Gee Whiz where do you think he got his money from ? Do you think he was growing marijuana for his personal use or for a sick friend? Hell no. He was using and abusing the liberal 215 guidlines in Mendo and the lack of enforcment.

    I wonder how much money and pot was stolen?

    215 is a sham, a hoax.

  11. robin shelley11/10/2007 9:46 PM

    I think you've missed the point, 9:56. Les Crane got his money from growing & selling pot in Mendocino Co. He said so... loudly & often.

  12. Robin I didn't miss the point, that was my point. This guy goes from a current or former crack addict to a well to do property owner, including a piece on the Mendocino coast, doing all this chairty work (the 600 turkeys or whatever). It is the hoax, con, or sham about 215.

    How many others are there in Mendo or Humboldt Counties, others that keep a lower profile?

    And I applaud Rose's research on Mr. Nemeth. If this guy is one and the same with the school counselor he should be publicly taken to task.

  13. robin shelley11/12/2007 6:33 AM

    And that was Les Crane's point exactly... but challenging 215 got him killed, which was my point.

    As for Mike Nemeth, if he is a counselor for the MCOE, he won't be publically taken to task by any Mendo official.

    What I don't understand about Mendocino County is why there isn't any public outrage over these things.

  14. A year later, Patrick Fourmy is again in the news here on Navarro Ridge Rd. His three large gardens just got raided by the DEA, Monday Sep 29. And I understand he is an advisor to Santa Barbara Co. on marijuana laws. What? Are they stupid? These big growers are a blight on our rural neighborhoods!!!

  15. This Patrick Fourmy guy brought the Feds to our neighborhood. Thanks Patrick! Its not like the people in this area are strangers to growing dope,Fourmy brought many Santa Barbara scruff to work for him here and he, himself, lives in the comfort of SB. Now Fourmy is raided again and his workers can turn, get screwed, or blame the neighbors. I hope they get together and sink Mr. Patrick "Weasel-face" Fourmy.


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