Medical Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance Upheld

RED BLUFF, Calif. - A challenge by Tehama County marijuana growers against a medical marijuana cultivation ordinance has been denied.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal upheld the ordinance that was adopted by Tehama County supervisors.

Bob Williams, the Tehama County Supervisor for District Four, told us this all started a few years ago when people within his district started complaining about some of the growers.

He said some families living close to some of the grows were living in fear and were worried about people coming in to steal crops and cause trouble.

The county ended up adopting an ordinance about three years ago.

It restricted the number of plants allowed per parcel and requires at least 160-acres of land in order to grow. It also requires a 1,000-foot buffer between the crops and school bus stops, a 6-foot fence around the plants and registration with the county health services agency.

A group filed a lawsuit against these regulations, but the court upheld the ordinance.  

Williams told us that safety was a key component when they drafted the guidelines. He said he thinks it's fair for all parties.    

"There's guidelines for anything that you do. There's regulations that everyone has to follow and we didn't do an outright ban on growing marijuana in Tehama County. We just told them here's how many plants you can grow, where you can grow it, where you can't grow it and the procedure you need to follow in order to be allowed to grow," Williams said.

Jason Browne, the main plaintiff in the lawsuit against the county, told us he's not surprised, but is very disappointed in the court's decision.

He said the county's ordinance is flawed because they don't provide a specific map of the banned areas. He also told me the government is taking away their private property rights.

"The fight's far from over. We're disappointed.  We're really disappointed in our attorney at this stage but we have a new legal team and we're putting together a new challenge so we're looking forward to that," Browne said.

He told us there was not enough education or personal stories displayed in the courtroom.

Browne said the decision might have gone a different way if the court had actual examples of how the ordinance is impacting legitimate patients.  

Browne told us his next step is to file an as-applied challenge. This will allow him to bring in some of those examples to the courtroom.

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