The Del Norte County Board of Supervisors clouded the issue of what is reasonable and excessive Tuesday when it decided to lift its medical marijuana possession and cultivation guidelines.
By removing limits on the number of plants a medical marijuana patient or caregiver can grow and the amount of processed marijuana they can possess, the supervisors put the burden of determining how much is too much on law enforcement, patients and their doctors.
Under the county’s current medical marijuana guidelines—which will be in effect until the new law takes over Aug. 8—patients and caregivers are allowed to grow up to 99 plants in a 100-square-foot area and be in possession of up to a pound of processed buds.
It’s one of the most liberal standards in the state and one that local law enforcement officials have said contributes to marijuana percolating to the street.
The Board of Supervisors tried to amend the original ordinance and reduce the amount of marijuana a person can legally grow or possess to six mature plants or 12 seedlings, and eight ounces of processed product. This change would have brought Del Norte County in line with a majority of counties in the state that follow the same guidelines.
However, the board opted instead for no guidelines after a state appellate court ruled that placing limits on medical marijuana was unconstitutional.
If a patient doesn’t have a set prescription for medical marijuana, such as 35 plants and 2 pounds, then someone in law enforcement would need to make a determination on whether or not the patient’s situation warrants that amount.
Well, if they have been growing up to 99 plants and keeping a pound of buds, why doesn’t law enforcement just adopt that as their operating policy? Absent a directive from the people, why should they arbitrarily decide who now is a criminal and who is not on August 8th when they were all legal on August 7th?