Discussion Papers

Superior Court of California Ruling Confirms the Ban on Marijuana Cultivation

Special to Silent Poison - June 28, 2018 


Calaveras marijuana growers filed a lawsuit against Calaveras County seeking an injunction, or “stay,” of the cannabis ban ordinance passed by a majority of the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors in February of 2018. On June 15th Superior Court Judge Thomas Smith issued a ruling supporting the ban placed by the County Board of Supervisors and denied the temporary restraining order requested of pot growers.


“Bait and Switch”: A False Claim


The pot growers have contended that they had a permanent right to grow their crops with the granting of permits under the urgency ordinance passed by the previous board in 2016. They accused Supervisors who voted to ban cultivation of pot in 2018 of engaging in “bait and switch tactics.” The principle line, used by solicitors to gather signatures in recent recall petition drive for Supervisors Dennis Mills and Gary Tofanelli, was that voters to should sign the petition because the board engaged in such “bait and switch” tactics. The court ruling exposed this argument as being totally fraudulent. 


The Court ruling said the growers were “overreaching” in seeking to have the commercial cannabis cultivation ban revoked. The growers have contended they had a permanent right to grow crops and the ban damaged them economically since they invested in the farms. 

The Court also noted this contention was untrue. The judge noted

Growers “…..infer that the emergency ordinance essentially conferred a permanent right to cultivate commercial cannabis to anyone granted a permit under its provision; this inference is contrary to the explicit language of the emergency ordinance concerning its temporary nature and that any issued permits were at risk of eventually being rescinded in the event of a commercial ban.”


The Court further noted in a rejection of the pot grower’s “bait and switch” contentions noting all those voting voiced support for the ban in their campaign for Supervisors: 

 

Contrary to petitions position that the board newly elected in November 2016 then engaged in a ‘bait and switch’ transforming the EIR process from one designed to allow regulated cannabis cultivation to one banning such growth, the majority of the newly elected Board explicitly campaigned on the issue of seeking a cultivation ban. “


The Court also noted that if the court was to enjoin the cultivation ban it would be circumventing legislative authority and “would arguably overturn the voter’s decision expressed in the election of the current board.” 


Pot Cultivation and the Environment


In October 2017 Supervisor Mills released a report, Cultivating Disaster, which he commissioned with The Communications Institute evaluating the impact pot cultivation was having on the environment. At the same time, other studies and news stories including one by the University of California Berkeley confirmed the ecological damage brought by pot farms. 


Since its release pot growers have attacked the study and attempted to discredit it. The Environmental Impact Report produced by Ascent Environmental evaluated what would be the best decision by the county in protecting the environment in consideration of marijuana cultivation. The firm concluded the best decision would be ban the practice. The firm also confirmed the overall findings of Cultivating Disaster


The marijuana growers have engaged a “drumbeat” of denunciations of these credible environmental critiques and even hired their own “experts” to oppose the findings. The Court Findings stated:

“The Court finds that the Board of Supervisors’ proceedings leading up to their vote to ordain a ban on commercial cannabis cultivation met the requirements of CEQA in complaints with Code of Civil Procedure.”


Court Rejects Contentions that Growers Were Damaged


The Court totally rejected claims by growers that they suffered “catastrophic and irreparable harm.” It declared:


“Concerning the claims that petitioners are entitled to a preliminary injunction or administrative stay based on the likelihood of their prevailing on the permanent injunction (inferred as virtually inevitable), claims of catastrophic and irreparable harm if relief is not granted, and the inconsistency of the ban with the county’s general plan, the Court finds petitioners points and authorities to be largely conclusory, speculative, and hyperbolic, under cutting the claims of ultimate success. In sum, the Court is unpersuaded by petitioners’ assertions.”


Summary


The marijuana growers have engaged in a disinformation campaign for the past nine months to discredit the public officials who voted for the ban on commercial cultivation. They have also personally attacked their ethics and harassed them and engaged in similar practices against those citizens who have been involved in supporting the ban. 


Their campaign, that Supervisors or members of the public are liars, has totally distorted the truth with fabrication of the facts and truth. The Superior of Court of California, County of Calaveras, in this judgment has unmasked the deceit and lies of these people whose entire interest is to personally profit with no regard for the impact of this enterprise on the people, their quality of life, and indeed the beautiful natural resources that grace our Sierra Foothills Region. 


Discussion Papers

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