If the county board of supervisors goes ahead and passes an ordinance regulating marijuana cultivation on residential property on May 8, as expected, the chances are good that it will go to a public vote anyway.
Perhaps that’s OK, because it will be a chance to gauge community-wide opinion on marijuana cultivation — an underpinning of our county economy. (“Yes, Virginia,” the objections are about more than just growing marijuana for medical uses). Prop. 215, passed in 1996, further opened the door to our ever-growing marijuana economy.
Butte County’s medical marijuana cultivation law will be up for a referendum vote during the June 5 primary election.
“On May 24, after a series of hugely crowded, passionate, often angry hearings, the (Butte) supervisors adopted the ordinance,” as CalPotNews.com reports. “Opponents to the ordinance immediately started a petition drive and by early August the county clerk-recorder’s office certified enough signatures had been collected to quality the measure for the ballot.”
Likewise, a “hugely crowded, passionate, often angry hearing” occurred at the Rood Center on Tuesday. (We watched some of it on NCTV). Some of the crowd was uncivil at times too, forcing Board Chairman Ted Owens to gently bang the gavel and address the group.
You can expect a petition drive to protest whatever is passed on May 8 despite this “cooling off period” on the issue. And just like Butte County, our ordinance likely will go to a public vote.
Unruly, disrespectful behavior in public discourse is unfortunate, because it just causes further polarization — but that’s nothing new in our community.
Marijuana cultivation in residential neighborhoods should be guided by respect and the Golden Rule — just like any other neighborhood activity. But nowadays our society is more guided by self-centered behavior.
It’s a sign of the times: An ever-growing mindset of “do unto others before they do unto you.” Sometimes the voting process helps bring civility back to public decision-making. In the ballot booth, each person can quietly decide in private without the noisy rhetoric.
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