Shasta County Stands Up for Outdoor Cultivation Rights

This story was updated on March 3. Many others who were also involved in the campaign are probably still not credited. This story is meant to be inspirational to others who want to get active locally.


Against all odds, the citizens of Shasta county have turned in an estimated 13,080 signatures on a referendum to repeal their outdoor cultivation ban, only 20 days after their campaign began. The number is more than twice the 6,600 valid signatures needed to overturn the measure.

A flurry of phone calls, emails and Facebook messages started coming in from Shasta county to CalNORML after the board of supervisors there pulled a last-minute switch and passed a ban on any outdoor cultivation on January 29. “People were asking for help, but no one wanted to lead the charge from the ground,” recalled CalNORML deputy director Ellen Komp. “I told everyone they could file for a referendum to repeal the ordinance, but they only had 30 days to get the signatures in, so they’d better act fast.”

Looking for a location where a meeting might be held, Komp placed a call to Planet Herb, a collective in Redding and CalNORML member. That day, 36-year-old Jessica Lunsford, a Shasta county resident, went by Planet Herb. “I was looking for a bandwagon to join,” said Lunsford. She was given Komp’s number at CalNORML and the two spoke on February 4, just after Komp testified in Tuolumne county about their pending cultivation ordinance.

Lunsford started the group Sungrown in Shasta and got help from local collectives that carried the initiative, the GrowOn store in Redding, and the NorCal-PatientCoalition, as well as the California Cannabis Coalition, a group that has successfully mounted six petition campaigns across the state.

"With CCC we got the cavalry,” Lunsford said, adding, "Everybody helped, that's what made it work. Everyone dug in and got their hands dirty and we had a beautiful garden." After the Redding Record Searchlight published a story calculating that the cost of complying with the new ordinance would be $12,000 just to grow 12 plants even more people got on board.

“We have realized our power,” said Lunsford, adding that Shasta’s grass roots coalition is considering writing an initiative for the ballot, rather than leaving the matter to the BOS, even though there are now pro medical-marijuana candidates for the Board who have stepped up. The group estimates they turned in 3600 voter registrations, not counting those who registered online, and the county clerk has said her office is having trouble keeping up with processing them all.

“I’m finally proud to be living in Shasta county,” wrote one supporter on Facebook. Another resident considered moving to Siskiyou county when the ordinance was passed and is now glad he didn’t, since Siskiyou is considering a Tehama-style ordinance now in their county.

By contrast, Fresno county was unsuccessful in repealing their total cultivation ban, despite efforts by local activists to gather signatures. In what points to a racist policy, most of the people who called CalNORML about that ban were Hispanic, Laotian or Hmong, and faced language barriers as well as a lack of experience in political organizing.

Save Butte Growers Rights and other groups are collecting signatures on a referendum to repeal their county's new restrictive growing ordinance. Those signatures must be turned in by March 13. They are also working towards an initiative with a May turn-in. A PAC, Butte County Citizens Against Irresponsible Government, is fundraising for the efforts, and they're facing opposition from a hate group.

A PAC has also been formed in Shasta for future efforts under the name Shasta County United.


Shasta County

I am concerned because this petition only puts the question of outdoor cultivation on the November ballot. Don't misunderstand me, I am happy enough people signed the petition, however, there is a lot of hate against cannabis in this county, evidenced by the blogs after the story at local news outlets web pages, and of course, R&R on Craigslist.

I still am unsure of prop 215 clauses that say a patient or care provider is exempt from prosecution. In this county, where the cops shoot first and ask questions later, I have concerns about law enforcement and outdoor growing.

I certainly would like to see the cartels removed and all growing on public lands cease. The guerillas and bandits have no place in a law abiding society. And that is what I would like to see, a law abiding society where people can grow cannabis just as they grow tomatoes, Ed Rosenthal's example.

Shasta County

There are meetings discussing an initiative. It is my opinion that the number of pro-mmj people out number the anti-'s 2 to 1. The anti-movement is just more vocal in public forums! Most residents of Shasta County have friends and family members that use mmj or grow mmj, I have no fear that the referendum will withstand the November election you and everyone you know registers to vote, and they register everyone they know to vote, and then cast their ballots on election day. You can register to vote at https://rtv.sos.ca.gov/elections/register-to-vote/(S(u4ippwv30bnsdd0uk101d22j))/FedForm.aspx

Alright Siskiyou that's just rude!

Called the real estate agent today--- property shopping! Coming soon to Siskiyou County! Hope I can find some property without crazy algae blooms in the lakes, and where a greenhouse isn't mandatory, and where the freezing cold wind won't tear things up. Stay proud!

Siskiyou County is not cosidering a Tehaa-style ordinance!

Siskiyou County is not considering a Tehama-style ordinance. A ordinance proposed with in a Board of Supervisors meeting written by Sheriff himself was not remotely close to persuade the Board of Supervisors or the public into adopting such ordinances. The residents and patient growers in our county had a birds eye view of what had taken place in Shasta county and have stepped up immediately over night was not going to let that happen in our county. The growing community has quickly assembled and already is conducting Weekly Census meetings to quickly draft propose a new fair and balanced ordinance for marijuana regulation to present for adoption to the Siskiyou Board of Supervisors within a few weeks. Also, there will be public hearing conducted in all 4 corners of our county before any decisions will be made. Our Board members have given us their word that were going to take the time to study cannabis to make a informed, un-baised decision unlike many of the states corrupted public officials. Siskiyou County has a very impressive record for compliance for all the counties in California and complying patients do not need to suffer at the hands of a few "non complying large unregulated grows by radicals which may presumably not even from our county". In our county, there is a overwhelming wash of optimistic support that Law enforcement, government and the public safety will be balanced...hopefully a role model for other counties. Both patient/growers and government agree on regulation but not like the recent trends seen everywhere else.

For more information what is happening is Siskiyou County Medical Marijuana Regulation, visit http://www.facebook.com/groups/MMJSISKIYOUCOUNTY

PS: You can contact Richard Morris (Public Facilitator for S.C.M.R) at the Green Heart Collective at 530-918-9440

And one more thing....
To the guy who was considering to move to Siskiyou County but is glad he didn't...we glad you you didn't too!

Siskiyou board of supervisors & Richard Morris

This is a crock of crap! As a Siskiyou County 40 year resident and an activist in the fight to maintain my growing rights,I can absolutely tell you that what you just read is a crock of crap! Siskiyou county Sheriff Lopey, at the before mentioned meeting of board supervisors, held up pictures of Adam Lanza and other murderers and basically said that all pot smokers where potential killers! He drew a conclusion based on the fact that some of the murderers such as Adam Lanza smoked pot, supposedly before committing these crimes, and the board ate it up. If that sounds like fair and impartial representation and a board and sheriff that does not think all pot smokers should suffer at the hands of a few non complying people, than think again! EVERY Siskiyou County resident who has an interest in this needs to stand up for their rights. I have spoken through emails with one board member and I know what talking points they are focusing on! According to this board member they are concerned with land use issues based on zoning and watershed. However, they are contradicting themselves with this after the show of pictures and trying to connect marijuana with violent behavior. This article never mentioned that this board is considering imposing a fine of 1000 per plant per day if the space grown is more then a 10 by 10 foot space.

cultivation ordinance Siskiyou County Ca.

I'm keeping a close eye on the agenda. And the proposal has not yet been tabled.Or withdrawn. Let's head it off so not have to get it repealed. That's more work.

thanks for writing

I will call you...I didn't mean to disparage Siskiyou county or oversimplify matters. I'm glad to see the citizens of Siskiyou are standing up (that's what this story from Shasta was meant to encourage). I'm trying to discourage "county shopping" for the best ordinances because it's only brining backlash against the ones with better policies as people move there to grow more. I think people must get active where they live.

Hat's off to Jessica Lunsfrord and many others!

Many citizens have never been so passionate about righting a wrong.......proud to be a Shasta County Resident!

Citizen rights

A great example of Americans bonding against the machine of politicians who do not respond to the citizens needs or demands. Organize and fight for our rights.

The people have spoken

Way to go everyone! This shows the fat cats that we the people have rights, and will stand by them.

This makes me happy

Very happy that things went well in Shasta County, and taking notes so we can start doing better in Fresno County and points beyond. Cannabis politics aren't so very different from politics in general; it takes time, money and leadership to get stuff done.