Butte County Board of Supervisors got an earful recently when residents packed the board’s chambers to make their voices heard about a proposed marijuana ordinance. In fact, so many residents turned up that Oroville city Fire Marshal Dean Hill informed many they would have to leave due to fire restrictions. The contentious issue resulted in almost 5 hours of debate, and in the end supervisors decided to shelve the ordinance for now in order to go back to square one on its language and terms. Many of those who filled the chambers and offered their two cents were opposed to the ordinance, which would aim to limit the number of plants that can be grown and charge fees for each registered plant. Essentially, specific procedures would be established for growth, acreage, and property lines. The Oroville MR reports the following on debate about the ordinance:
“Many speakers charged the ordinance was an effort to end legal medicinal marijuana gardens within the county, a claim both County Attorney Bruce Alpert and District Attorney Mike Ramsey denied as they outlined the proposal. Ramsey and Sheriff Jerry Smith told the board medicinal marijuana gardens were sometime covers for commercial operations. They said the skunk-like smell of the plants as they near maturity and the threat of armed thieves is a significant issue for public safety. But dozens came forward to say they would die if they didn't have ready and economical access to their medicine.”
Some residents threatened impeachment if the board passed the ordinance and some sick residents who rely on marijuana for medical reasons said that the ordinance would essentially block the access and affordability they currently have. Many statements against the proposal were rather heated, with one critic going so far as to suggest the supervisors were Nazis. However, that is not to say that there were no residents on hand who did in fact support the ordinance, arguing that controls on gardens are important for public safety. Reportedly the supervisors will take up the issue again in a month after the long meeting resulted in no vote. For more, see here.