Shasta County Outdoor Medical Marijuana Ordinance Referendum, Measure A (November 2014)

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A Shasta County Outdoor Medical Marijuana Ordinance Referendum, Measure A ballot question was on the November 4, 2014 election ballot for voters in Shasta County, California. It was approved.

This measure was a veto referendum effort against a county ordinance, put forward by the Shasta County Planning Commissioners and approved by the Shasta County Board of Supervisors, that created stringent restrictions on the cultivation of medical marijuana plants with regard to location, number of plants and screening/security structures. Once this ordinance was passed, a group of county residents called Sungrown in Shasta began a referendum petition campaign to collect the 6,544 valid signatures required to put this ordinance before voters in an attempt to overturn it. These signatures were due on February 27, 2014, but activists turned in 13,080 signatures prior to that date, and the initiative was certified by the county registrar of voters.[1][2][3]

A "yes" vote supported the county's ordinance and adopted the supervisor-approved regulations. A "no" vote would have rejected the county's ordinance and rescinded the supervisor-approved regulations.

Election results

Shasta County Measure A
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 32,992 57.82%
No24,06642.18%

Election results via: Shasta County Elections Office

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot appeared as:[4]

Shall Ordinance SCC 2014-02 (Medical Marijuana Cultivation in the County’s Unincorporated Area) be Adopted?

Amends current Shasta County medical marijuana cultivation restrictions for the County’s unincorporated area to, among other things: (1) prohibit the outdoor cultivation of marijuana, (2) limit the cultivation of marijuana per premises to a total of twelve plants within a structure that is detached from and accessory to a residence of a qualified medical marijuana patient or primary caregiver of a qualified medical marijuana patient, (3) prohibit the unlawful surface drawing of water and unlawful discharges of water related to marijuana cultivation, (4) require that if the person cultivating marijuana is not the owner of the property, notarized statements from all legal owners consenting to the cultivation must be obtained, (5) make any violation of the marijuana cultivation restrictions a misdemeanor, and (6) amend residential accessory building requirements.[5]

Impartial analysis

The following impartial analysis of Measure A was provided by the office of the county counsel:[4]

Measure A was placed on the ballot by a referendum petition signed by the requisite number of voters challenging Ordinance SCC 2014-02 (the “Ordinance”). The Ordinance was adopted by the Shasta County Board of Supervisors on January 28, 2014. The referendum stopped the Ordinance from going into effect and required that the Ordinance be submitted to the voters for approval. The Ordinance amends current medical marijuana cultivation restrictions for Shasta County’s unincorporated area.

Currently, qualified medical marijuana patients and their primary caregivers may cultivate medical marijuana in the unincorporated County on properties where the qualified medical marijuana patients or their primary caregivers reside. The cultivation may occur both outdoors and inside structures detached from the residences, but is limited to a total cultivation area (both outdoors and indoors) ranging from 60 to 360 square feet based on property size. The cultivation may not occur inside a residence. The cultivation also may not occur within 1,000 feet of a school and other sensitive uses. Outdoor cultivation is also subject to setback and fencing requirements. Grow light systems are prohibited for outdoor cultivation, but may be used for indoor cultivation with certain requirements.

In general, violations of the current restrictions are criminal infractions. However, every person who violates the current restrictions three or more times is guilty of a misdemeanor for the third and every subsequent violation during a twelve month period.

The Ordinance amends these current medical marijuana cultivation restrictions for the unincorporated County. Primarily, the Ordinance will:

(1) Prohibit outdoor cultivation of marijuana;

(2) Limit marijuana cultivation per premises to a total of 12 plants inside a structure that is detached from and accessory to a residence of a qualified medical marijuana patient or primary caregiver;

(3) Establish criteria for the cultivation structure, including setbacks and electricity use, light systems, odor filtration systems, and security systems;

(4) Require a legal water source on the premises and prohibit the unlawful surface drawing of water and unlawful discharges of water related to marijuana cultivation;

(5) Require that if the person cultivating marijuana is not the owner of the property, notarized statements from all legal owners consenting to the cultivation be obtained;

(6) Amend residential accessory building requirements;

(7) Continue to prohibit marijuana cultivation within 1,000 feet of a school and other sensitive uses;

(8) Continue to prohibit marijuana cultivation inside a residence; and

(9) Make any violation of the marijuana cultivation restrictions a misdemeanor.

Similar to other County ordinances, the Ordinance may be enforced by administrative, civil, or criminal proceedings.

A “Yes” vote by a majority of those voting on Measure A means that the Ordinance will go into effect and will replace the existing medical marijuana cultivation restrictions.

A “No” vote by a majority of those voting on Measure A means that the Ordinance will not go into effect and the existing medical marijuana cultivation restrictions will remain in place.[5]

—Rubin E. Cruse, Jr. Shasta County Counsel[4]

Support

Supporters

Les Baugh, Chairman of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors, signed the official arguments in favor of Measure A.[4]

Tom Bosenko, Shasta County Sheriff-Coroner and Betty Cunningham, executive director of Partners for a Drug-Free Community joined Baugh in signing the official rebuttal to arguments against.[4]

Arguments in favor

Supporters said the measure would prevent water theft, clear-cutting, steam diversion and chemicals introduced into the water supply.[6]

Kathy Grindstaff, a concerned citizen who supported Measure A, also claimed the measure would reduce crime, protect the environment and improve the quality of life in the county. Grindstaff said, “This is about land use. We are trying to bring the cultivation of marijuana use back under control. It has just gotten so crazy here in Shasta County. It is being over-run with marijuana cultivation and we just want to see a stop to it."[6]

Official arguments

The following was submitted as the official arguments in favor of Measure A:[4]

Outdoor medical marijuana cultivation has greatly expanded in recent years. This has led to many complaints regarding the number of plants, plant odor, drug trafficking, noise from generators, and growing near schools, churches, and other sensitive areas.

Commercial size operations are common. Such operations often have armed persons guarding their crop, cause damage to the environment, create blight conditions, and negatively impact the value of property and homes. Now explosions and fires are occurring as a result of the processing of marijuana, endangering others, homes, and property.

Many crimes are associated with marijuana operations, especially during harvest season. These crimes include drug sales, assaults, thefts, home invasions, water thefts, shootings, stabbings, robberies, and even murders.

A Yes Vote supports the action of the Board of Supervisors to place reasonable land use limitations on medical marijuana cultivation.

A Yes Vote limits the number of plants to 12 plants and continues to prohibit cultivation near sensitive areas such as schools and churches.

A Yes Vote continues to require a qualified patient or primary caregiver on the property to have a legally permitted residence in order to grow medical marijuana on the site.

A Yes Vote requires that cultivation occur inside non-residential structures with filters to limit noxious odor impacts to neighbors.

A Yes Vote prevents negative environmental impacts to land, creeks, and streams such as clear cutting of land, hundreds of cubic yards of earth being moved for grow sites, water theft, stream diversion, silt, sewage, and chemicals running off into streams.

A Yes Vote in favor of Measure “A” helps improve the quality of life in Shasta County while respecting the needs of medical marijuana patients. Vote Yes on Measure “A.” Measure A is good for you, me, and the community.[5]

—Les Baugh, Chairman of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors[4]

Opposition

Sungrown in Shasta campaign logo

Opponents

Sungrown in Shasta and Concerned Citizens of Shasta County were the groups behind this veto referendum petition.[7]

Opponents of Measure A formed a PAC called Shasta County Citizens - Vote No on Measure A.[8]

The California branch of NORML also endorsed a "no" vote on Measure A.[9]

The following individuals signed the official arguments in opposition to Measure A:[4]

  • Jessica L. Lunsford, concerned citizen
  • Curtis Keaton, concerned citizen
  • Tyler Terrell, concerned citizen
  • Rick Arons, concerned citizen
  • Mandy Arons, concerned citizen

The following individuals signed the official rebuttal to arguments in favor of Measure A:[4]

  • Matthew D. Meyer, PhD
  • Curtis Keaton, concerned citizen
  • Wilma Marler Sherwood, retired school teacher
  • Rick Arons, local small business owner
  • Loel Yerion, union representative

Organizations

  • ACLU of Northern California Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Chapter[10]
  • The California branch of NORML[9]

Arguments against

Vote No on A campaign logo

Opponents focused on the restrictions on outdoor cannabis cultivation and argued that people should have a right to grow medical marijuana on their own land, which would be illegal for most people under the new restrictions. They argued that this measure would push growers into the city limits of Redding and Shasta Lake to avoid the misdemeanor penalty imposed by Measure A, increasing marijuana cultivation in residential areas.[4][2]

Rick Arons, who owns a grow shop in Redding, opposed Measure A and argued that to grow indoors requires expensive equipment that many cannot afford, leaving sick people in need of medical marijuana out to dry. He said, “This ban on outdoor cultivation is just hurting patients who are doing things the right way." He continued, "It’s hugely important for a cannabis patient that needs this medicine to be able to cultivate their own. It’s the only true and safe way to be able to know what you have done to your own medicine."[6]

Official arguments

The following was submitted as the official arguments in opposition to Measure A:[4]

Vote No on Measure A. Measure A will not stop neighborhood grows, but it will waste scarce County resources. Residents of the unincorporated County will flock to City of Shasta Lake and Redding to cultivate, where this ordinance’s misdemeanor charge will not apply, increasing neighborhood grows.

The Board of Supervisors has said that they need this law to combat commercial gardens in the County of Shasta. However the 2013-14 Grand Jury Report stated, “…the Grand Jury became concerned that the County does not effectively enforce its adopted rules and regulations.” Enforce the existing laws.

Vote No. Commercialized operations and processing butane concentrates are already illegal. Drawing of surface water, stealing water from hydrants, and discharging chemicals into the watershed are all illegal.

Vote No. This ordinance places land restrictions on every homeowner in the County of Shasta that will allow law enforcement to enter your property without a warrant under suspicion of cultivation.

Vote No. It forces cultivation indoors increasing the risks for fi re, thefts, home invasions, and pollution, thus stressing on our electrical grid and natural resources further.

Vote No. Citizens with medical issues will be burdened with the high cost of the required residential accessory structure, which the news reports estimate at $12,000. They will also be required to pay an additional electrical bill, increasing their cost of living.

Vote No. Measure A eliminates the only affordable way for patients to grow their medicine organically under the sun.

Vote No. Other Counties who have banned outdoor cultivation have suffered multiple civil rights lawsuits, which are very costly.

Vote No. The 2011 county ordinance already prohibits cultivation near sensitive areas such as schools and churches.

Enforcing the laws we already have will improve the quality of life for all in the County of Shasta.[5]

—Jessica L. Lunsford, Curtis Keaton, Tyler Terrell, Rick Arons and Mandy Arons[4]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in California

This measure is a veto referendum effort against a county ordinance. Once the targeted ordinance was approved, a group of county residents called Sungrown in Shasta began a referendum petition campaign to collect the 6,544 valid signatures required to put this ordinance before voters under Measure A in an attempt to overturn it. These signatures were due on February 27, 2014, but activists turned in 13,080 signatures prior to that date, and the initiative was certified by the county registrar of voters.[1][2][3]

Similar measures

Recreational

Approveda Washington D.C. Marijuana Legalization, Initiative 71 (November 2014)

Colorado:

Maine:

Approveda City of Lewiston Recreational Marijuana Legalization Measure (November 2014)
Approveda City of South Portland Recreational Marijuana Legalization Measure (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Town of York Recreational Marijuana Legalization Measure (November 2014)

Massachusetts:

Michigan:

New Mexico:

Approveda Santa Fe County Marijuana Decriminalization Advisory Question (November 2014)
Approveda Bernalillo County Marijuana Decriminalization Advisory Question, Measure 1 (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Albuquerque Marijuana Decriminalization Measure (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Santa Fe Marijuana Decriminalization Initiative (November 2014)

Wisconsin:

Approveda Dane County State Legalization of Marijuana Referendum (April 2014)

Medical

California:

Approveda City of Santa Ana Council-Referred Medical Marijuana Regulation Ordinance, Measure BB (November 2014)
Defeatedd City of Santa Ana Medical Cannabis Restriction and Limitation Initiative, Measure CC (November 2014)
Defeatedd City of La Mesa Medical Marijuana Initiative, Proposition J (November 2014)
Defeatedd City of Encinitas Medical Marijuana Initiative, Proposition F (November 2014)
Defeatedd Nevada County Medical Marijuana Cultivation, Measure S (November 2014)
Approveda Butte County Medical Marijuana Ordinance 4075 Referendum, Measure A (November 2014)
Defeatedd Butte County Medical Marijuana Initiative, Measure B (November 2014)
Approveda Shasta County Outdoor Medical Marijuana Ordinance Referendum, Measure A (November 2014)
Defeatedd Lake County "Medical Marijuana Control Act" Initiative, Measure O (November 2014)
Defeatedd Lake County "Freedom to Garden Human Rights Restoration Act" Initiative, Measure P (November 2014)
Defeatedd City of Weed Permitting Licensing of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Advisory Question, Measure L (November 2014)
Approveda City of Weed Outdoor Marijuana Cultivation Ban Advisory Question, Measure K (November 2014)
Approveda Lake County Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance 2997 Referendum, Measure N (June 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Imperial Beach "Compassionate Access Ordinance" Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Act (June 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Napa Medical Marijuana Dispensary Referendum (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Costa Mesa "Initiative to Provide Revenue to the City of Costa Mesa Citizens" Medical Marijuana Initiative (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Costa Mesa "Act to Restrict and Regulate the Operation of Medical Marijuana Businesses" Initiative (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of San Jose Medical Marijuana Regulation Act of 2014 (November 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of San Jose Pension Measure to Alter Measure B Reform Charter Amendment (November 2014)


See also

External links

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Opposition

References