Cultivation clash: Planners backpedal on growing ordinance after public outcry

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat /

Tuolumne County leaders need to re-work a proposal to regulate the growth and processing of medical marijuana before they make it official, the county Planning Commission declared on Wednesday.

Following a lengthy public hearing and discussion of a new ordinance that would ban outdoor cultivation of the plant, as well as collectives and dispensaries, the commission voted 6-1 on the side of easing up on the restrictions or at least bringing more people into the process.

The Planning Commission's decision is only a recommendation to the county Board of Supervisors, which likely will decide in February the next step for what is becoming a controversial plan.

"This thing needs to be re-thought," said Commissioner Ron Ringen, who opposed the proposal in its current form.

Commissioners John LaTorre, Jerry Baker, Jim Garaventa, Bob Steele and Chairman Dick Pland agreed with Ringen, with Commissioner Jerry Morrow being the sole vote in favor of the plan.

Under the proposed law, which would not include the city of Sonora, legal medical marijuana users and patient caretakers would be allowed to only grow their own cannabis indoors on the same parcel as the state-approved consumer.

Those individuals would also be allowed to keep up to 3 pounds of processed cannabis at any given time, and dispensaries and collectives would be outlawed.

The regulations would be set forth in county zoning laws, and violations would be infractions with fines in the hundreds of dollars. But the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office, not building code officials, would enforce the regulations under the current proposal.

For the full story see today's Union Democrat.

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