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Weed, sanctuary state wrangles on Placer board's plate

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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The Placer County board will be asked Tuesday to OK a lien on a rural property near Auburn that’s at the center of a dispute over cannabis-growing regulations.

Also on the agenda will be a discussion of the state’s sanctuary state law and the possibility of Placer County becoming a non-sanctuary county.

The bill that the owner of the Ophir Road property could be required to pay is $7,124.15.

According to the supervising code enforcement officer Ryan Zender, the county issued a 72-hour notice to remove cannabis plants that were over the allowable maximum of six.

The owner of the property went through a nuisance abatement hearing and ended up with $32,200 in administrative penalties to pay and another $7,214 in costs related to enforcement. The amount was based on a penalty of $100 each for 322 plants code enforcement counted at the property, according to county records.

The owner — listed on county documents as Christopher M. Lull of Antelope — continued to challenge the demand to dispose of the excess cannabis and ended up at the Planning Commission.

Lull arguments against the assessment include that he was not responsible for a tenant growing cannabis on his property and that the county’s ordinance violates state law by authorizing fines on a per-plant basis.

After the March appeal hearing, the Planning Commission voted to affirmed the initial code-enforcement notice.

In April, code enforcement sent Lull a bill but the debt remained unpaid this past week, Zender said.

The next step is to hold a public hearing at Tuesday’s board meeting to consider the $7,124 assessment and a lien against the Ophir Road property.

Zender said that code enforcement sees no reason to modify the amount being assessed against Lull because it represents the county’s actual administrative costs of conducting a cannabis nuisance abatement action.

The board meeting is at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the County Administrative Center, 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn. The board will consider the lien at 10:25 a.m.

The sanctuary state discussion is to be at 1 p.m. Tuesday, with supervisors given the opportunity to provide direction to staff.