The commercial cannabis cultivation debate in Calaveras County is far from over, as the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 today to have staff prepare strict regulatory language to be reviewed by the Planning Commission before coming back to the board.

“The bottom line is a ban did not pass today,” District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi, who represents Mokelumne Hill, Sheep Ranch, Mountain Ranch, Calaveritas, Wilseyville, West Point, Paloma, Glencoe and Rail Road Flat, said after the vote.

District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli directed county staff to include a laundry list of stipulations, referencing language from the Planning Commission that recommends having 83 percent of registered growers pushed out of residential neighborhoods and other zoned areas.

“That’s the board’s decision,” said District 5 Supervisor Clyde Clapp, who ran for election last year on a platform supporting a ban. “That’s the way it goes. Hopefully what they come back with we’ll be able to agree on.”

Tofanelli said after the vote he hopes that when county staff bring regulatory language back to the board, the county’s five top elected representatives will be united and pass a new ordinance.

“It’s kind of like kicking the can down the road,” Former District 1 Supervisor Cliff Edson said. “I’m glad they didn’t vote for a ban. The framework for a good regulatory program is there. They just need to get started on it.”

Bob Bowerman, executive director for Calaveras County NORML, cast the outcome Tuesday in negative terms for growers. NORML stands for the National Organization for Reforming Marijuana Laws.

“They voted for a ban under a different name,” Bowerman said. “Given what Tofanelli asked for, they are going to put 85 to 90 percent of registered growers out of business. Given the stipulations on where grows can be located, it’s a ban in disguise.”

Check Wednesday’s Union Democrat for a complete story on the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Contact Guy McCarthy at or (209) 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter @GuyMcCarthy.