A proposed ordinance that would limit medical marijuana cultivation to 12 plants per parcel of land will go before the Merced County Board of Supervisors for final approval Tuesday.
A public hearing will be held to allow for community input before supervisors decide whether to pass the ordinance.
Law enforcement officials said the proposed regulations, recommended by the Sheriff's Department, crack down on illegal large-scale marijuana operations in the county.
Last month, county supervisors unanimously approved moving forward with the ordinance, saying collectives have operated in Merced County for "several years with minimal local regulations."
A Merced resident, who asked not to be identified for fear of losing his job, said he grows medical marijuana for his disabled father and brother and is opposed to the ordinance.
He said he objects to the county ordinance because it sets limits for indoor and outdoor marijuana growth, which don't produce the same yields. He said the amount of marijuana that can be used for medicinal purposes from an indoor plant might last a month, but it takes three months to produce.
He's opposed to limits set by politicians and law enforcement officials rather than physicians or health care experts.
Supporters of the ordinance, many of whom spoke at a public hearing last month, say it will protect neighbors of those growing marijuana.
Winton resident David Ortiz shared concerns of "drive-by shootings and pedestrians being shot" in his neighborhood because of the large pot plantings.
In addition to regulating growth, the new ordinance carries stiffer civil and criminal penalties for those who exceed growth limits.
Some of those penalties include abatement and clean-up at the owner's expense, an administrative procedure resulting in penalties or a misdemeanor charge resulting in six months in jail and-or a $1,000 fine.
The Board of Supervisors meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the board chamber on the third floor of the Merced County Administration Building, 2222 M St. in Merced.
Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.