Letters to the Editor - Sierra Booster
Letters to the Editor

Medical Marijuana Ordinance

Dear Sierra County:
I was going to present you with facts and figures of the very real damage to the local economy that could occur if the proposed changes to the Medical Marijuana Ordinance are passed.
But today, after attending the first fundraiser/shindig of the Sierra County Growers Association I am filled with hope and gratitude and I going to ask again for some compassion.
The party was hosted by Casey’s Place in beautiful downtown Alleghany. The delicious food was also from Casey’s place, a choice of pulled pork sandwich or falafel tacos. There were near 300 attendees over the course of the day, which included live music from the rockin’” Hard Hattie & The Badmen” of N San Juan and a raffle with many wonderful prizes. The event was even attended by a member of the Board of Supes. There was also an educational presentation by the President of the California Growers Assoc. about Taxing and Regulating medicinal marijuana. Everyone was very well behaved and there was very little actual marijuana in attendance.
The party had an amazing sense of “community”. It was a gathering of very differing peoples that all had one unifying cause. Lest you think it was all a bunch of young radical liberals, there were more “Benghazi” bumperstickers than “Bernie”.
I spoke with an Alleghany resident, a Vietnam veteran with serious PTSD. He told me how smoking relieves his anxiety and lets him sleep and enjoy life. He said his favorite part of the whole thing is growing the actual plant. Spending time in the sun caring for another a living thing is very beneficial to his mental health. I spoke with a beautiful 30 year old woman diagnosed with a benign brain tumor 4 years ago. She has been treating the tumor with juiced cannabis flowers and CBD oils and has radiological proof that her tumor is shrinking. She went from daily seizures to not one in 8 months. It is not possible to purchase enough medicine at a dispensary to treat her condition. She started to get very choked up and emotional because she can’t believe that the one thing that is allowing her to live a quality life might be taken away from her because somebody thinks it stinks. I can understand her frustration.
Please, Please, take the time to contact your Supervisor and tell him enough is enough. Leave the ordinance as it stands. This has been costing the county time and resources for 8 months now and has
the potential for further legal costs down the road. The “Growers” are all now fully aware of what is and isn’t legal under the current statute and if they break the law, then punish them.
Let’s get back to the Live and Let Live philosophy that has made Sierra County a great place to be.
Thank you, Belle Starr Sandwith, Sierra Brooks

“Should the County of Sierra adopt an ordinance which would allow commercial marijuana activities within the County, including but not limited to cultivation, processing, distribution, warehousing and transportation of marijuana?”
Measure A is an advisory vote. It puts no law into effect. It is a way for the Board of Supes to see how voters feel about regulating medical marijuana instead of there having no guidelines for cultivators growing more than a 10’x10’ plot. It is like a poll.
I find the wording to be misleading and intimidating and I can only hope that was not the Board’s intention.
As written is seems that it is an all-or-nothing package and that is not true. The county can regulate all aspects of cannabis from seed to sale and can grant permits for only the aspects it deems fit for its community. So instead of saying "including but not limited to…” it ought to read “which may include, but not limited to cultivation, processing, distribution, warehousing and transportation of marijuana?”
Commercial simply means any commerce is taking place, large or small. That includes bartering with, giving away of cannabis or making a cash transaction.
Commercial does not need to mean corporate and the mom & pop cultivators of Sierra County
would like to keep it that way. Sierra County has the opportunity to set up regulations that preserve small farms and business and make a distinct line between legal and illicit actors in the industry.
Cultivation refers to the growing and harvesting of the plant. The state created three tiers with a 4th “Cottage Cultivation” license being added. The county can choose the maximum size of cultivation sites it would allow. Under the state regulations the cottage license permits sites of 2,500 square feet (50 x 50’), the first tier allows for no more than 5,000 s.f. (50’x100’). The state will allow for larger cultivation sites but Sierra County does not have to.
Processing is for those that process the raw plant matter into other forms for consumption such as edibles and salves.
Distribution is for those that broker between farmers and dispensaries. At that stage, under the new state regulations, is where the product goes to a lab and is tested for quality and safety.
Warehousing is storage of the crop. Think of gain silos in the Midwest. Just like corn, most cannabis is harvest once a year and stored properly to supply the market until the next harvest.
Transportation permits are for cultivators and distributors to legally get the crop or product from farm to patient abiding by safety regulations.
With a majority Yes vote for measure A the board can being to work with stakeholders in the community to craft regulations in-line with Sierra County values, protecting our right to farm and to have access to a scientifically proven medically beneficial plant in a safe and controlled marketplace.
Sarah Grew

Submitted: 04/07/16
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