Supervisor Brown Defends The Indefensible

by Mark Scaramella, April 11, 2010

Mendocino County Supervisor Carre Brown, in a long letter to the Ukiah Daily Journal this Sunday, tries to explain why she voted for John McCowen's crazy new pot cultivation ordinance (County Code 9.31) by saying that she doesn't like it because it allows 99 plants per parcel (with lots of bureaucratic restrictions), but that she voted for it anyway because it contains new restrictions on outdoor grows which is something.

In the body of the letter Ms. Brown makes the following statement: "Our best effort, Measure B, has not made a dent in [Mendocino's pot friendly] reputation even with record numbers of arrests and prosecutions. The criminals have continued to come in. The home invasions and rip-offs continue to escalate without the 99 plant approval."

Why is this any surprise? Measure B was not "our best effort" because the Board of Supervisors had nothing to do with it. (It's not clear who Ms. Brown means by "our." Herself and Supervisor McCowen?) Measure B had nothing to do with the criminals coming in because all it did was lower the allowed number of plants from 25 to six. No self-respecting criminal would have bothered to grow less than 25 anyway. Did Ms. Brown really think that somehow criminals would observe the six plant rule when they didn't observe the 25 plant rule?

Measure B had nothing to do with Mendocino's reputation, home-invasions, nor with criminals. It had to do with getting John McCowen elected Supervisor. If they'd wanted to go after the criminals, Measure B would have prioritized the pursuit of the big grows and growers, the trespass grows, the public lands grows, the property owners where the big grows are grown, a much more daunting task.

But it didn't, of course. And McCowen was elected and an now we have yet another layer of crazy pot rules that nobody will follow or enforce, and even if they did they'd only apply to the small growers who are trying to comply with the law already.

PS. Measure B isn't even relevant anymore. The California Supreme Court further muddied the water with its recent Kelly decision which said that marijuana patients could have as much marijuana as is reasonably related to their medical condition. (I'm trying real hard to avoid quote marks here, because none of these terms really mean anything. That last sentence, for example, could just as well have been written as, The Kelly "decision" which said that marijuana "patients" could have as much marijuana as is "reasonably related" to their "medical condition.") The Kelly decision said that no legislative body could limit the number of plants without going to the trouble of asking "the people" to approve yet another measure amending Proposition 215 with plant count limits. (Never mind that the measure doesn't prevent legislative bodies to restrict the number of square feet of growing area, which was the rule back in the DA Vroman/Sheriff Craver days.) But McCowen's Measure B focused on plant counts which was silly and ineffectual from the outset other than to get McCowen elected.

Supervisor Brown is a fan and admirer of now-Supervisor McCowen and his crazy new pot cultivation rules, so she probably believed McCowen's claim that Measure B would target criminals rather than do what it said it would do. Supervisor Brown probably voted for McCowen's crazy new rules only because they're McCowen's and is now trying her darnedest to explain the unexplainable. If she had stuck to her principles in the first place and simply opposed McCowen's attempts to over-regulate the unregulatable on grounds that 99 plants was too much, she'd have been much better off.

Supervisor Brown, who seems like a very well-meaning and reasonable Supervisor on a personal level, would be much better off if she thought for herself, rather than taking John McCowen's lead on every major issue.

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