Medical marijuana gardens will have to be 300 feet to 1,000 feet away from schools, churches, youth centers and treatment facilities under guidelines adopted Tuesday by the Glenn County supervisors.

With toughened penalties, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 in support of the new ordinance to take effect in 30 days.

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This is the county’s first zoning law dealing with medical marijuana grows for a patient’s personal use.

The distances vary depending on the size of the lot with lots of less an 1 acre requiring 300 feet and larger parcels needing the 1,000 foot distance.

It limits such gardens to property owned by the patient who must have a California marijuana ID card or valid recommendation from a physician.

The ordinance also requires the garden be fenced and be limited to 100 square feet since it is for personal use only.

Collectives, dispensaries and collaboratives are banned in the unincorporated areas of the county.

Planning Director John Linhart added more teeth to the law after Supervisor John Viegas complained previously it did not have enough strength.

Viegas said he has out-of-town people buying foreclosed homes in his district and setting up marijuana operations inside – so something is needed to stop that.

Viegas made his concerns known Feb. 7 when the board first looked at the ordinance passed on to it by Glenn County Planning Commission.

However, planners’ efforts to keep the ordinance simple did not satisfy the supervisors, who said Sheriff Larry Jones needs an ordinance he can enforce with some consequences.

The adopted ordinance allows for anyone who violates the marijuana nuisance code to be found guilty of a misdemeanor, county officials said.

Such plants cannot be visible from off the premises, no lighting can be used to enhance plant growth and the garden must be at least 20 feet from neighboring property lines.

In addition, the cultivation and processing of marijuana will not be an allowed home occupation under this county code, officials said.

Enforcement of the ordinance shall be done by the Glenn County Sheriff’s Department through complaints from neighbors, Linhart said.

“If the ( garden ) is bringing complaints from neighbors, they are creating a nuisance,” Linhart said. “If they are not bothering anybody, we don’t want to spend resources on it.”

Linhart explained his department and the sheriff’s office do not have the staff to go looking at every medical marijuana garden, so complaints would drive investigations.

County code enforcement officers also would not handle these cases since Sheriff Larry Jones suggested dealing with marijuana is a law enforcement matter.

Linhart also told Supervisor Leigh McDaniel the set backs and distance requirements are based on codes adopted by other counties and are designed to give some leeway so Glenn County will not violate California law.

Viegas added neighbors might also bring a class-action suit against violators as another option.

Orland Planning Commissioner Byron Denton said the county’s ordinance “dovetails” into the one Orland is proposing.

“We don’t want to have something the county that will run them into ( Orland ) or from Orland into the county,” he said.

McDaniel voted against the ordinance because he has some questions yet to be answered, he said after the board meeting.

Supervisor Dwight Foltz also voted against it because of procedural concerns.

Supervisors continued the public hearing from Feb. 7 with direction to staff to include a misdemeanor provision, and Foltz said he believed it should have been read over again with the changes.

News Hawk – 420 Warrior 420 MAGAZINE
Location: Glenn County, CA
Source: Willows Journal
Author: Rick Longley
Copyright: 2012 Freedom Communications