No on B, Yes on B Backers State Case

No on B, Yes on B Backers State Case
Posted by CN Staff on April 16, 2008 at 20:05:23 PT
By Zack Sampsel, The Daily Journal
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal
Ukiah, CA -- In an issue that is polarizing the county, representatives from the Yes on B Coalition and No on B fielded questions from a packed house inside the Ukiah City Council Chambers Monday night.Members from both groups answered marijuana-related questions submitted by the audience, including how Measure B would stop large-scale and trespass grows, what defines a commercial grow and how the police would fund and enforce Measure B.
Each group was given four minutes to make its opening statements during which the Yes on B Coalition, represented by John McCowen and Ross Liberty, painted a grim picture of the state of marijuana growing in Mendocino County."I think we all know marijuana cultivation in Mendocino County is completely out of control," McCowen said. "With the boom in commercial marijuana growing, a crime wave has engulfed our communities. Measure G has sent a message to the nation that marijuana is OK in Mendocino County."Laura Hamburg and Dr. Peter Keegan, representing No on B, reminded the audience that Mendocino County was fourth in the state in 2007 in the number of marijuana plants seized, falling behind first-place Lake County, which Hamburg noted uses marijuana limits similar to those proposed in Measure B.Believing that Measure B would help to enhance the safety of Mendocino County residents, McCowen and Liberty discussed the limits placed on law enforcement by Measure G and how they believe Measure B would give the power back to law enforcement."In repealing Measure G, Measure B will pull back the prohibition against law enforcement," Liberty said. "Measure G specifically precludes law enforcement from going after large grows."But the No on B representatives didn't agree, explaining that limiting the number of plants grown by qualified patients would only burden law enforcement and waste taxpayers' dollars along the way."We've been there before, and it's an incredible waste of resources and money," Keegan said. "You spend thousands of dollars prosecuting these people, but we all know it's nearly impossible to prosecute. This will just breed fear."As the forum continued, the issue of what defines a commercial grow was brought up, with McCowen sparing no words with his explanation."We all know that 25 plants is a commercial amount," he said. "I think there are very few people who can smoke the product of 25 plants. Twenty-five plants is far in excess of what any patient needs, and then the excess goes into the commercial market."McCowen's comments were met with immediate opposition from Hamburg and Keegan as the pair brought up that different varieties of marijuana each yield different amounts. They went on to explain that overgeneralizing all marijuana plants as being capable of yielding a pound or more of dried marijuana was unfair."One pound per plant is a rarity rather than the norm," Keegan said. "All plants yield different amounts. I've heard of one or two pounds a plant and that's just an herbal myth."The issue of enforcement for Measure B immediately followed the group's heated discussion about plant yields. Hamburg was the first to tackle the issue of enforcement, once again telling the audience Measure B was a waste of taxpayers' money."If we reduce the limits, it seems logical that law enforcement would be doing more work," Hamburg said. "We have more serious issues in the county, and methamphetamine is one of them. We want to point our deputies into the direction where the real crime is, and it's not people's small backyard gardens."The Yes on B Coalition said the issue was more about allowing authorities to enforce marijuana limits."I think we need to send a clear message to the sheriff and the district attorney," McCowen said. "Once the sheriff and the district attorney have this message they will allocate the necessary resources. In the short term, this will require more time, but instead of having an ever-escalating level of crime, this will reduce it."Each group was given three minutes for closing statements with McCowen and Liberty reminding the audience of some of the horror stories of marijuana growing in Mendocino County."Don't be misled by false arguments and misleading statistics," McCowen warned. "We've heard people say marijuana is really not a problem. That's not true, and you all know better."Keegan and Hamburg also used their time to reaffirm the points they made earlier, saying that lowering plant limits would worsen the problem."We're all concerned about the big-time growers, but reversing Measure G doesn't address that issue at all," Keegan said. "This is misdirection. They say what it would accomplish, but they haven't explained how it would combat big-time growers. These folks want to go backwards when it's clear that more prohibition worsens the problem."Measure B, which was placed on the ballot by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors in January, would repeal Measure G and set medical marijuana limits in Mendocino County at the state limits of six mature or 12 immature plants and eight ounces of dried marijuana.Measure G, which was passed by Mendocino County voters in 2000, instructed law enforcement to make the prosecution of marijuana gardens of 25 plants or fewer the lowest possible priority.The election is scheduled for June 3.For more information on No on B, go to: more information on Yes on B, go to: Ukiah Daily Journal (CA)Author: Zack Sampsel, The Daily JournalPublished: April 16, 2008Copyright: 2008 Ukiah Daily JournalContact: udjrb pacific.netWebsite: Articles:Sides Being Chosen Over Marijuana Initiative Doctors Back Increased Pot Restrictions
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