Growers may end challenge to Yuba medical pot ordinance
The Yuba County Growers Association will drop its legal challenge to the county medical marijuana ordinance if the Board of Supervisors at its Dec. 11 meeting approves proposed changes to the measure.
But the legal filing in Yuba County Superior Court noting that agreement does not detail the changes. Attorney Jeffrey Lake, representing the medical marijuana growers, said in an email Monday that he cannot discuss the changes until the new proposed ordinance is public.
Reports on Dec. 11 agenda matters before the Board of Supervisors will be available on Dec. 5, according to the county administrator's office.
Lake filed the legal challenge in July for groups including the Old Crow Farm Collective and Deja Vu Collective, along with Yuba Growers.
"Yuba County has established a framework that establishes a de facto ban on medical marijuana collectives, co-operatives and dispensaries," Lake wrote in a later court filing.
The county's limits on the amount of square footage for cultivation and the number of plants are the most onerous aspects of the ordinance, Lake stated. A requirement for cultivation on a single, flat rectangle is irrational in unincorporated Yuba County, according to the court filing.
A parcel of less than an acre would not sustain even one medical marijuana patient's needs, the attorney added.
Attorney Derek Haynes, representing Yuba County, said in an email Monday that "I am not authorized to comment about pending litigation."
A previous court filing by the county said that its ordinance only limits the amount of marijuana a person can grow in a certain area. Six plants can be grown on less than an acre and 12 plants on 1 to 20 acres under the county ordinance.
Medical marijuana growers seem to argue that medical marijuana cultivation is the only agricultural activity exempt from regulation, the county's filing states.
Kevin Mallen, director of Community Development & Services Agency for Yuba County, said in a legal filing that other jurisdictions' medical marijuana ordinances were reviewed. The county staff researched Rocklin, Chico, Nevada County and other sites, he said.
The county official also recounted meeting with Sheriff Steve Durfor and District Attorney Pat McGrath. Issues involving medical marijuana included armed robberies at cultivation sites, entire residences converted to indoor grows and illicit sewage discharged to the ground by campers on vacant lands where marijuana is grown, Mallen added.
The city of Live Oak has incurred costs of $13,464 to defend a legal challenge to the city's medical marijuana measure — a figure the mayor has said is part of the price of protecting citizens.
Gary Baland said legal challenges by medical marijuana advocates to municipal measures in California are common.
"No matter what ordinance you have, people are being taken to court," the mayor has said.
Resident James Maral has said he would end his legal challenge if the city allowed six to 12 plants at each house
"I would go away," Maral said earlier this month.
Yuba County in April had scheduled an evaluation of its medical marijuana ordinance for December. Twenty-nine people spoke at a Feb. 28 county meeting on the issue.
CONTACT Ryan McCarthy at email@example.com or 749-4780. Find him on Facebook at /ADrmccarthy or on Twitter at @ADrmccarthy.