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Legal Filings Fly Ahead Of Calaveras Supes’ Potential Cannabis Grow Ban Vote

San Andreas, CA –- Some last-minute legal maneuverings may affect a seeming majority of Calaveras supervisors to vote for an outright cannabis growers’ ban this week.

Only two regular agenda items – both public hearings — are slated for tomorrow’s meeting. The first hearing will address adopting a ban or regulation ordinance rescinding the county’s urgency regulation ordinance set to expire in February; the other will look at rescinding the county’s medical cannabis dispensaries ordinance for a more restrictive one and ahead of that voting to exempt the replacement from CEQA due to it having no negative environmental impacts.

While, as reported here, a three-vote supervisors’ majority bloc has guided county staff’s efforts for months towards crafting a commercial grow ban that can be enacted, cannabis industry supporters continue to argue and challenge the push.

Late last week, Adrian Lambie of Walnut Creek-based Archer Norris Law filed a writ of mandate seeking a judicial intervention on behalf of Calaveras resident and cannabis industry advocate John Smith in a petition against the board of supervisors that names District 5 Supervisor Clyde Clapp as the real party in interest. The petition requested an immediate court hearing today, ahead of tomorrow’s meeting, which was denied this morning.

Conflicts Of Interest Alleged

The filing ultimately seeks a writ that would direct the board to preclude Clapp from participating in any governmental decision regarding commercial cannabis policies due to conflicts of interest he publicly demonstrated as the owner of multiple properties near grows. The document also points to purported misleading and conflicting statements Clapp publicly made about renting the properties. Clapp, arguably the board’s most vocal outright commercial ban proponent, has been known to publicly opine that there are no “good” growers in Calaveras.

The filing also illuminates Smith’s Aug. 22 sworn complaint to the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), alleging Clapp’s conflicts of interest. This matter is still pending before the FPPC’s enforcement division.

Speaking with Clarke Broadcasting about the judge’s instruction to file for a regular hearing date, Attorney Lambie confided that his firm filed again today for a hearing tomorrow at 11:45 a.m., further noting an urgency to hear the matter ahead of the public hearing. While he was not terribly optimistic that would happen, Lambie stated that the move might provide the court and county officials some pause for thought.

Lambie likens a supervisors’ vote at this point to making the effort to generate a big squeeze of toothpaste then having to try to get it back into the tube. A ban vote, he opines, might be that difficult to roll back or rescind should the FPPC find Clapp should have recused himself.

Tomorrow’s meeting in the government center’s supervisors chambers (891 Mountain Ranch Road) will begin at 9 a.m. following a one-hour closed session.