A spiteful insult to voters

Supervisors’ move to adopt stricter medi-pot ordinance smells of vindictiveness

It’s hard not to see vindictiveness behind the Board of Supervisors’ decision Tuesday (July 31) to move toward banning all outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana in Butte County. It’s as if the members of the board majority—Supervisors Larry Wahl of Chico, Kim Yamaguchi of Paradise and Bill Connelly of Oroville—were saying to the people of Butte County, who in June solidly approved Measure A overturning the board’s first marijuana-cultivation ordinance, that they could take their referendum and, well, shove it.

By all indications, voters approved the referendum, Measure A, because they thought the ordinance was too restrictive, particularly in its prohibition of cultivation on any parcel smaller than a half-acre.

So, in response and with a large measure of spite, the supervisors decided to move toward an even more restrictive ordinance, in direct opposition to the will of the voters. “You didn’t like our ordinance?” they seemed to be saying. “Well, see what you think of this one, suckers.”

The new ordinance will be modeled on Kings County, where medical-marijuana patients are allowed to grow only on their own property and only if the plants are enclosed in a structure of some kind.

The supervisors already have outlawed medical-marijuana dispensaries in Butte County. With the new ordinance, patients who can’t afford a structure, who are too ill to garden, or who don’t have a growing area will be forced to turn to the black market to obtain their medicine.

The supervisors may not like Proposition 215, which legalized the medical use of marijuana. And they clearly didn’t like it when voters overturned their cultivation ordinance. But in a democracy the will of the voters is supreme. What the board majority is doing is an insult to that bedrock notion.