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Year in Review: Supervisors grapple with medical pot ordinances
The medical marijuana issue had two parts for the Yuba-Sutter area, mostly Yuba County, in 2012: before the ordinance passed, and afterward.
Reacting to complaints by residents and a litany of issues reported by the Yuba County Sheriff's Department, the Board of Supervisors adopted an initial ordinance in May to restrict where the plant could be grown, how many plants one could have, and how visible the plants would be.
"You can't take that many calls for concern and not address it," Supervisor John Nicoletti said at the time.
But within weeks, the county found itself in court, after growers filed a lawsuit stating the ordinance was incompatible with state law.
All along, representatives for the growers said they would prefer to cooperate on an ordinance rather than go the route of litigation. In the meantime, Yuba County law enforcement continued to investigate marijuana grows, and county officials later noted that few would've passed muster under the ordinance, suggesting growers weren't interested in compliance.
Eventually, a Yuba County Superior Court judge ruled the ordinance was flawed, asking the county to meet with the plaintiffs to improve it. The Board of Supervisors adopted a revised ordinance in December, this time to a positive reaction from most growers.
But the issue isn't likely to remain there. County supervisors and grower representatives agreed further that revisions would possibly be necessary.
"We're just at one place and time right now," board chairman Hal Stocker said.
In Sutter County, the situation is even less settled, after a proposed ordinance did not get a majority of votes among the five supervisors.
With a new supervisor replacing a steadfast opponent of medical marijuana next year, it's unclear whether the ordinance could come up for discussion again.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.