Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Board of Supervisors votes to formally oppose Measure D

LAKEPORT, Calif. – The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday morning to take a formal stand of opposition against Measure D, the marijuana cultivation initiative that will appear on the June 5 ballot.

The action follows the Lakeport City Council's vote last Tuesday to oppose the measure.

Board Chair Rob Brown, who asked the board to consider formal opposition, said it was not an issue about medical marijuana, but rather an issue of zoning by referendum.

He said Measure D's proponents have tried to say that the county has had no regulations on medical marijuana cultivation, but that's not true.

Last October the board passed Ordinance No. 2960 to govern cultivation, but rescinded it in January after Lake County Green Farmers and Lake County Citizens for Responsible Regulation gathered the 2,100 signatures needed for a referendum on the county ordinance. Those two groups later put forward Measure D.

During the Lakeport City Council meeting last week, Brown also asked for, and secured, the council's support in opposing the measure.

Speaking at the same meeting, Don Merrill, on behalf of Lake County Green Farmers and Lake County Citizens for Responsible Regulation, insisted that the board didn't rescind the county ordinance in response to the referendum, which Brown said was not the case.

Brown said a number of local groups have come out against Measure D. In addition to the Lakeport City Council, that list currently includes the California Women for Agriculture, Lake County Farm Bureau, Sierra Club Lake Group, Lake County Deputy Sheriffs Association, Kelseyville Business Association, Lake County Chamber of Commerce, and the Buckingham and Clear Lake Riviera homeowners associations.

“There are a lot of people that are concerned about this process of zoning by referendum,” Brown said.

Supervisor Anthony Farrington said Measure D ties the hands of the current and future Boards of Supervisors, which can't make changes to it. Because it is an initiative, changes also would have to go through the initiative process.

He said he's not sure that Measure D is in the spirit of Proposition 215, the 1996 Compassionate Use Act, which decriminalized marijuana for medical use in California.

Farrington said medical marijuana use should be based on medical needs. “That's why this measure is flawed. Nobody needs 84 plants for medicinal purpose,” he said, adding that he believes some doctors writing medical marijuana scripts are abusing the process.

Supervisor Denise Rushing raised issues with the difficulties of enforcing rules for pesticides and fertilizer use. Applying agricultural regulations also would be problematic, she said.

During brief public comment, Finley resident Phil Murphy said his position is that any herbicide or pesticide use should be reported.

“I'm not a big fan of Measure D,” he said. “I think it’s got a heck of a lot of problems with it.”

However, Murphy said he was not comfortable with the board taking a stand on the measure. “I don’t think the board as a whole should be telling people how to vote here in Lake County,” he said, adding that he believed there had been a lot of misinformation circulated on both sides of the subject.

Claudia Street, the new Lake County Farm Bureau executive director, told the board she was there to lend her support to the supervisors opposing Measure D.

Cobb resident Joan Moss, who is running against Brown in this year's election, wanted him to recuse himself from any vote related to the measure or medical marijuana because of his bail bonds business and because in 2008 nearly 5,000 plants were found on a portion of his property. Those plants were determined to have been planted by illicit growers, possibly connected with a Mexican cartel.

Moss accused Brown of either being a victim of the grow or a marijuana grower.

Brown corrected Moss, saying not all of the plants were found on his property. He said he's not a grower, and said her statements were factually flawed. He added it is not good for the bail bond business to be opposed to Measure D.

As to her accusations, “You have nothing to back it up other than your BS,” he said.

Supervisor Jim Comstock offered the resolution with minor amendments for wording offered by Rushing that referred to the problematic nature of enforcing rules for pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer related to the initiative.

The vote was 5-0.

Email Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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