Fed up with recent ordinances attacking growers in California’s Emerald Triangle, a group of Tehama County patients have sued the county over its new medical marijuana regulations, which limit the amount of cannabis that can be grown at home and make life much more difficult for cultivators in the largest pot-producing region in America.
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The class action lawsuit – supported by California NORML and filed by the law firm of Edie Lerman and J. David Nick of Ukiah – claims that the county’s new laws make it impossible for patients to legally exercise their right to grow medical marijuana under Proposition 215. Under the new regulations, it will be considered a public nuisance to grow marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, church, park or “youth oriented” facility. In addition, home gardens are now restricted to no more than 12 mature (or 24 total) plants, outdoor gardens will have to be surrounded by an opaque fence at least six feet high, and every patient garden must be registered with the county’s health services agency for a to-be-determined fee.
“The right to cultivate is fundamental to Proposition 215’s mandate that ‘seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes,’” said Dale Gieringer, director of CA NORML.
The county supervisors passed the new regulations in a 4 to 1 vote in April. Bob Williams, the chief proponent of the new regulations, first pushed for the ordinance after residents of a Gerber neighborhood complained about the presence of marijuana near a school bus stop.
Jason Browne, one of the Tehama patient-plaintiffs, told the San Francisco Bay Times that the ordinance is an affront to patients’ rights. “The patient community has attempted for months to work with the county. They have snubbed us at every turn… we had no alternative but to sue.”
The Corning Observer reported that in April, hundreds of people signed up to be part of the lawsuit at an informational meeting held by the law firm.
Calling All Cultivators: Support Your Brothers’ and Sisters’ Rights to Grow Cannabis!
• Contact the Tehama County Supervisors, and let them know that you’re standing up in support of your fellow cultivators. Let them know what you think about their backdoor attempt to circumvent state law (a cut-and-paste email message is included below.) You can also contact Supervisor Bob Williams at his office extension, (530) 527-4655, ext. 3018, or send snail mail to: Tehama County Supervisor Bob Williams, P. O. Box 250, Red Bluff, CA 96080.
To the Tehama County Supervisors,
I am writing in support of the recent class-action lawsuit filed against the county, in reaction to your new medical marijuana regulations.
These new regulations – which place undue hardship on medical marijuana cultivators and home gardens – are an attack on the rights of every medical marijuana patient in your county. They are in direct violation of the spirit of both Proposition 215 and SB 420, and are unconstitutional in scope and intent.
As the lone dissenting vote in April’s decision, Supervisor Willard has shown exceptional judgment, as well as a respect for the well-established legal rights of medical marijuana patients. Please follow his lead, and retract the new regulations immediately. I will be watching the lawsuit with great interest, and plan to encourage others to do the same.
Thank you for your time,
Bob Williams, the county supervisor who led April’s 4-1 decision to enact oppressive new medical marijuana regulations in Tehama County.