Sutter County rejects medical pot ordinance on first reading
This story has been updated from an earlier version that had incorrect information.
Though nobody spoke out to oppose it, the Sutter County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on Tuesday to reject a proposed ordinance on medical marijuana.
Supervisor James Gallagher said he had too many concerns about unintended consequences, including how it could be seen as the county giving tacit approval to marijuana growing.
"I still feel we're not saying it, but we're allowing it to happen," he said. He was joined in the vote against the ordinance by Supervisor Jim Whiteaker and Supervisor Larry Montna, who'd expressed similar views at an earlier meeting.
What was rejected Tuesday was a revised version of the ordinance, with changes to make the limit 12 mature plants for parcels of any size and a requirement for growing on less than 20 acres to be either indoors or in a ventilated greenhouse.
The ordinance retained other aspects from its original form, such as allowing appeals to grow more plants, and an outright ban on growing near places where children gather, such as schools and parks.
Unlike past meetings in both counties, no one spoke to oppose the ordinance, though Jim Burris, a Yuba City resident and medical marijuana user, did bring a model of a greenhouse for growing acceptable under Yuba City's similar ordinance.
"This here is a mid-sized unit, and it'll handle 12 plants for the patient," Burris said, showing how a cover on the greenhouse would allow sunlight in but keep prying eyes out.
In a humorous tone, he later added, "You could even put your kids in there and lock 'em up if you can't find a babysitter."
Supervisors on both sides of the vote said they recognized the medical marijuana issue is far from resolved as a conflict between state and federal law.
Supervisor Stan Cleveland said the ordinance addressed what the county can control.
"Really, this has been a long and not enjoyable process, but we try to do the best we can," he said.
Interim County Administrative Officer Shawne Corley said earlier in the meeting that creating a card program for medical marijuana patients is also going to come before the board soon.