Angela Hart, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Siding with rural residents opposed to cannabis cultivation in their neighborhoods, Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday rejected a proposal to allow small-scale growers to farm marijuana in any rural residential zones outside city limits.
Supervisors Shirlee Zane, David Rabbitt and James Gore voiced strong support for an outright ban, opposing a county Planning Commission recommendation to allow cottage-sized cultivation on rural residential lots of 2 acres in size or more.
The three were forceful in their opposition, with Rabbitt and Gore saying they believe marijuana farms are not an appropriate land use, and Zane adding she’s most worried about crime associated with the industry.
“There’s a lot of violence with home invasions. … I think the crime element has not been discussed enough,” Zane said. “People who live in rural residential (areas) have a right to live in a safe community.”
The board, instead, voted to approve a broader, far-reaching land-use ordinance regulating marijuana cultivation, both indoors and outdoors, on agricultural and industrial zones across the county. Implementation is tied largely to the success of a marijuana cultivation tax set for a March 7 special election, or finding an alternative funding source.
Zane’s comments followed earlier testimony Tuesday from county law enforcement officials, who said crimes associated with marijuana cultivation and trimming appear to be growing in both number and severity.