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Tehama County group pushes to bring back outdoor cannabis grows

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RED BLUFF, Calif. - A group calling themselves the Cannabis Researching Committee, or CRC, has submitted a rezoning application to amend the current ordinance against outdoor cannabis grows in Tehama County and Tuesday, they went to the Tehama County Board of Supervisors meeting to speak to the board about it.

While the state has decided to legalize marijuana, it is up to the counties individually to decide the regulations for their residents.

Ordinance No. 2040 was put into place by the Tehama County Board of Supervisors in May of 2017. The ordinance only allows six plants to be grown and only in permitted indoor structures.

The CRC submitted their application to combat this ordinance on December 1 and the board has 30 days to approve or deny it.

CRC members took to the board meeting to express their concerns during the public comment period at the beginning of the meeting.

One speaker in support of the rezoning application, Matthew Meyer, said the environmental impact is huge.

"The fact is, the indoor growing is environmentally destructive. It takes the energy of 29 refrigerators to grow four cannabis plants indoors," Meyer said.

Meyer said the Northstate has some of the sunniest areas in the country and cannabis growth would thrive here.

Another man spoke about how cannabis helped his pain to the point that he no longer needs his opioid medications.

CRC representative, Jason Browne, listed off the things Tehama County growers have gone through.

"...Warrantless searches, trespassing on properties, theft of vehicles and farm animals, vandalism of gates, fences, and well pumps, assault with a deadly weapon, invasion of privacy, violation of physician and patient confidentiality," said Browne as his list went on.

"This impacts a lot of people in this county," Browne said. "The abatement scheme as it's being enforced has basically targeted the sickest and poorest patients in Tehama County."

One CRC member says Tehama County has been overwhelmed with many lawsuits resulting from Ordinance 2040. A clerk in the records department counted six claims that have been made against the county since the ordinance began.

Due to the issue not being on the agenda, the board was unable to respond to the comments. After the meeting, CRC members held a press conference outside of the chambers.

After the meeting ended, Board Chairman Dennis Garton said, "They had a press conference today outside of the Board of Supervisors chambers and we don't know what they said. So, I can't really respond other than we will continue to work through this marijuana cannabis issue so that we can hopefully come to an agreeable solution sometime in the future."

CRC said if the board does not approve their application, they will submit it as a ballot initiative and let the voters decide in June.

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