Pot Patients, Growers Prepare To Fight County Restrictions

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Photo: Julie R. Johnson/Corning Observer
Ken and Kathy Prather, owners of medical marijuana dispensary Tehama Herbal Collective in Corning, California

‚ÄčHundreds of people are signing up as litigants in a class action lawsuit to be filed against Tehama County, California, for its recently approved medical marijuana cultivation regulations.

Many of the potential litigants, medical marijuana growers and patients, met in Red Bluff on Thursday to fill out forms naming themselves as plaintiffs in a lawsuit being backed by California NORML, reports Julie R. Johnson of Tri-County Newspapers.
Kathy Prather, co-owner of Tehama Herbal Collective (THC), a marijuana dispensary in Corning, said the lawsuit will be filed against Tehama County because of its recent ordinance regulating medical cannabis cultivation.

The plaintiff forms included names, addresses, and contact information, and asked potential plaintiffs to write a “description of how the Tehama County Ordinance 1936 Chapter 9.06 affects you.”
Members of the media were not allowed into the Comfort Inn suite where the meeting was held. The suite was paid for by Kathy Prather and her husband, Ken.
“We can’t let the media in because of people’s health information privacy rights,” Kathy Prather explained.
Before the doors were closed, E.D. Lerman, an attorney hired by California NORML, told the group to expect a “long haul.” Lerman said she anticipates that whichever way the lawsuit is settled — for the plaintiffs or for the county — it will be appealed and could possibly go as far as the Supreme Court.
The attorney also advised the group to start raising money to cover the legal costs of the lawsuit.
Tehama County Supervisor Bob Williams, who introduced the ordinance, said he anticipated something like this.
“They threatened this all along, through the whole process,” Williams said. “I stand by the ordinance and what it means to the county. Other than that, because of the potential litigation, I can’t say much.”
Prather said she wasn’t surprised by the large number of people who turned out to learn more about the lawsuit and sign up as potential litigants.
“We have over 3,600 people in this county who hold recommendations for medical marijuana,” she said. “This is just the beginning.”
“I am all about this,” said Kenny Kunselman of Rancho Tehama as he filled out the form. “They aren’t taking my rights away.”
“The patient community in this area is used to being discriminated against, but for the county to completely ignore state law, to ignore our property rights, our rights as patients and to consider our medicine a nuisance to the public is very insulting,” said cannabis consultant Jason Browne, reports KHSL.
The county’s new marijuana cultivation ordinance regulates where and how much marijuana people can grow on specified acreage, and sets additional restrictions.
It bans medical marijuana gardens from being grown within 1,000 feet of schools, school bus stops, churches, parks and child care centers. It also requires growers to register with the county health agency and limits the number of plants based on property size.
Dan Arion of Red Bluff said he signed up as a plaintiff because he had been growing medical marijuana in the same spot for three years.
“Now my garden would be considered too close to my fence line and I’m breaking the law,” Arion said. “We grow for the amount we need and we grow for several other people. What am I supposed to do now? This is what I am going to do. I’m joining in this lawsuit.”
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