Nov 6, 2014 6:47 PM by Brian Johnson
Butte County officials say people need to get ready for new, stricter medical marijuana cultivation rules which are likely to go into effect in early January.
They expect an increase in staffing because they expect an increase in complaints come January. Besides an overall decrease in grow sizes, which is a maximum of 150 square feet, the overall complaint process is the next big change, says the county's director of Development Services.
"The rules for the cultivation of marijuana in Butte County have changed dramatically," DDS Director Tim Snellings said.
One day after voters approved Measure A by a landslide margin, Butte County officials, including the Sheriff and District Attorney's Office, County Counsel, and the Department of Development Services all met to develop a game plan.
Snelling expects the new rules to start on January 8th, after the Board of Supervisors declare the vote on their December 9th meeting.
That's also the date when Snellings expects to present a game plan for his department to the board.
"So we expect to need to ramp up, which we're
doing right now to get ready for an increase number in complaints," Snellings said.
Because soon, Snellings said, anyone will be able to complain. They'll also take anonymous complaints, which they currently do not do.
Still, the complaint must have merit with regards to the restrictions under the new ordinance in order to be followed up on by Butte County Code Enforcement (along with the help of the Butte County Sheriff's Office).
Snellings said the new ordinance will significantly reduce the amount of plants growers can have, but be based on square feet cultivation areas.
Currently, a grower with 5 to 10 acres of land can grow up to 48 plants, with what county officials estimate would be 3,600 square feet. But county officials say under the new ordinance, that number will decrease 36-fold, to 100 square feet (10 feet by 10 feet).
"We're not going to get caught up in the number of plants in the square footage area," Snellings said. "It's just about maintaining the perimeter and keeping the plants within the perimeter of the permitted square footage."
"It's an evolutionary process in land-use," Snellings said.
Click here for more information the county has posted on their website.
(Photo Courtesy: BSANE.org)