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Supervisors ban outdoor medical pot grows

The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors has moved to ban outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana, but indoor growing would still be allowed.

The board voted 4-1 Tuesday on the ordinance, which is based on Shasta County’s outdoor growing ban. A second reading is planned for Dec. 8.

“Banning outdoor grows provides safer grows," District 3 Supervisor Michael Kobseff said. "From stories I was told, grows are a safety risk to other residents because people want to steal pot.”

Siskiyou County community members packed the board room to express their opinions about the ban. Some asked the board for a zero-tolerance cannabis-cultivation policy, while others considered the banning of outdoor cultivation to be an illegal infringement on state-declared rights.

Many homeowners from the Klamath River Country Estates said exceptionally large grows by their homes were affecting their roads and property values.

One community member said, “I’ve got three grows adjacent from me and one is a stone’s throw away. We are thinking about selling our home because of these grows, but we talked to a Realtor, and we are upside down in value by about $50,000 from where we were a year ago.”

Many of the individuals who were in support of the ban mentioned how large grows are popping up all around their homes. Large grows are considered illegal under the county law.

Many marijuana collective owners, medical cannabis patients and longtime county residents said the large grows are ruining it for everyone, but those following the rules shouldn't be penalized.

Members of the Hmong community attended Tuesday's meeting, saying they use medical cannabis for legitimate health issues.

”I have had ulcers for 20 years," said a Hmong woman. "I’ve been to doctors but their help did not work. Due to my ulcer, I could not bend over and do any work. My friend gave me a cannabis tea, and my ulcers have healed. Now I can work.”

Some audience members said the county could put millions of dollars in its pockets if it chose to continue to allow outdoor cultivation with additional taxation.

Board Chairman Ed Valenzuela was the only member who voted against the ban. He said recreational cannabis use is likely to be approved by voters in 2016, and that he did not think that the ban would help.