The vote was unanimous. The Plumas County Board of Supervisors has said no to Plumas County cannabis cultivation and enacted a temporary moratorium on the entirety of the activity in the unincorporated areas of the county.
At the board’s special meeting Oct. 24, the Mineral Building at the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds was packed beyond capacity as members of the community wanted to make their voice heard on the controversial topic.
Most of the speakers’ opinions aligned with the board’s: yes, on the moratorium. While there were a variety of reasons behind the desire for the moratorium, the board narrowed it down to needing more time to finish a cannabis ordinance.
“Let’s give ourselves some time,” said District 1 Supervisor Michael Sanchez. “Let’s take a look at this ordinance coming our way and let’s make the right decisions for you, our constituents.”
“This has been a constant moving target,” chairman of the Cannabis Working Group and District 2 Supervisor Kevin Goss said. ‘This moratorium is up for discussion and we will discuss it, but we do need more time.”
The meeting entailed over two and a half hours of public comment that started out with speakers who supported the moratorium. Then members against the moratorium began to emerge.
“A law abiding citizen of Plumas County should have the opportunity to shape their future in this industry,” founder and vice president of the Plumas County Growers Coalition Ryan Kelly. “Let’s move cannabis out of the dark and out of our national forests into to the agriculture, industrial and commercial zones where it belongs.”
While there was public comment from citizens of all ages and walks of life, there were a few comments from county professionals, including Plumas District Hospital CEO Dr. Jeff Kepple and Feather River College President Dr. Kevin Trutna.
“We see no benefit for commercial grows for our students at Feather River College … we feel it would be detrimental to our students and disrupts their education” said Trutna.
Many of the public speakers against the moratorium argued for the medicinal properties of cannabis. Many argued that the moratorium should be placed only on recreational cannabis and exclude medical collectives.
“There has never been a problem with people getting medicinal marijuana … there is an avenue for that, we don’t have to cultivate it,” said Sanchez.
When it came down to a vote, the board breezed through their yeas and imposed a 45-day moratorium on all cannabis growth, suspending cannabis growth and the establishment of new growth sites in the county. The board will meet again in November to review the moratorium and hold another public hearing to extend it.
A moratorium can be extended for a period of up to two years. The board will use however much of that time is necessary to fine tune the cannabis ordinance that the Cannabis Working Group will continue to hash out.
The final decision was met with applause by the audience.