Calaveras Facing Legal Challenges Over Cannabis Ban

Calaveras County has seen the first wave of lawsuits in response to its recent ban on commercial cannabis. And given the stakes, you can be sure there’s much more to come.

Marijuana farmers have undertaken a number of challenges to the recently enacted ban on cannabis cultivation, including lawsuits seeking to overturn the ban and challenges to the county’s refusal to produce a memorandum sent to all supervisors that was the subject of a Freedom of Information Act request.

The most direct attack on the ban is a lawsuit filed to challenge the validity of an environmental impact report allegedly used as the basis for precluding all cannabis cultivation in the county.

That lawsuit is presented in the form of a writ petition that was submitted Feb. 14 by attorneys from the Archer Norris law firm of Walnut Creek on behalf of Beth Wittke and Thomas Griffing. The petition lists 13 causes of action in support of their request for the court to void the environmental report, eliminate the ban, require the Board of Supervisors to “properly” consider the ordinance moving forward and provide other relief.

The writ petition claims officials used erroneous baselines for existing conditions in the report, which ultimately skewed the findings. They then violated the California Environmental Quality Act by failing to recirculate the final EIR draft, the petitioners claim, and refused to consider public comments that would have contradicted their conclusions.

Opponents of the county’s ban on cannabis have also accused supervisors of violating the state’s open meetings law, as well as the California Public Records Act.

Read more at the Calaveras County Enterprise


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