Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mendocino County legitimizes medical marijuana growers

Mendocino County officials have approved sweeping regulations aimed at
ending the county's long-running pot wars and harnessing the
economic power of the region's number one crop.

Medical marijuana, growers, Mendocino County

On a 3-2 vote, the county Board of Supervisors adopted the plan
yesterday amid a long-running debate over whether Mendocino should
embrace or reject its reputation as California's pot capital (sorry
Humboldt County).

"This vote bridges the divide in this county and bring an end to the
polarization that has burdened our community for the past years,"
said Matthew Cohen, an organic farmer who runs a medical marijuana
collective near Ukiah.

Many localities around California have imposed regulations or bans on
dispensaries (storefronts) that provide marijuana to patients who
qualify under state law.

But the new regulations in Mendocino could be the first in the state to
create a legal framework for marijuana growers, treating them like any
other business.

The plan stipulates that all growers must operate as non-profit
collectives – in line with state guidelines – but it also
requires collectives to pay sales tax to the state Board of Equalization
"if they intend to sell directly to qualified patients or primary

To coax more growers into the open, the ordinance raises the number of
pot plants that can be cultivated on a parcel of land to 99 (from 25).
But only if the grower follows state guidelines and gets a special
permit from Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman.

Here's what Sheriff Allman told me this morning on KQED's California

"What we are saying is if you are going to grow the 99 plants, law
enforcement is going to have full access to your property. We're going
to be able to inspect, we're going to be able to see how healthy your
plants are, and if you have seven-pound plants, you're going to have a
real problem because that's too much pot."

Supporters hope the plan will reduce environmental damage caused by
"guerrilla growers," move pot cultivation out of towns to more
remote areas and raise more tax receipts for cash-strapped local


Anonymous said...

Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman will be interviewed about the new 99-plant permit this Friday, July 9, at 9-10 AM, Pacific Time, on NPR affiliate KZYX.

Show streams live from the web at

Questions before the show can be emailed to

Questions during the show can be emailed to

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