Calaveras Residents Against Commercial Marijuana

Protect Calaveras County

Calaveras Residents Against Commercial Marijuana

Protect Calaveras County


The environment, health and quality of life are now threatened by commercial marijuana cultivation, as adopted by three Board of Supervisors, Jack Garamendi D2, Merita Callaway D3 and Ben Stopper D5, on October 22, 2019.

As a united group of Calaveras Residents covering all five county districts, we are committed to protecting the future of our youth, neighborhoods, communities and environment.



Calaveras Residents Against Commercial Marijuana (CRACM), an unincorporated group of ordinary citizens residing in Calaveras County, announced it had retained legal counsel, noted environmental law firm, Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, LLP to protect Calaveras County residents and visitors from the environmental damage that would result from the County’s recent adoption of an ordinance allowing and expanding marijuana cultivation. (Commercial and Non-commercial Cultivation Ordinance, Chptr 17.95, adopted 10/22/19 (“New Marijuana Ordinance”). The County’s approval reverses its prior ban on cultivation.

CRACM filed a lawsuit in Calaveras County Superior Court seeking, among other remedies, a writ of mandate to prevent implementation of the New Marijuana Ordinance. The lawsuit names Calaveras County and its Board of Supervisors as Defendants (collectively, “the County”).

CRACM’s lawsuit alleges the County’s actions in rushing to adopt the New Marijuana Ordinance violated California environmental law and regulations by unlawfully approving an Addendum to an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared for a previous unrelated and unadopted ordinance. That EIR failed to adequately disclose, analyze, or mitigate the New Marijuana Ordinance’s significant environmental impacts and the threats the New Marijuana Ordinance poses to Calaveras County, its residents and visitors.

“By approving the New Marijuana Ordinance without lawful environmental review, the County has opened its doors to a flood of marijuana cultivation and the disastrous environmental impacts that come with it,” said Amy Bricker at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP, who represents CRACM. For example, marijuana cultivation at the scale permitted by the New Marijuana Ordinance increases the maximum allowable cultivation area per parcel from 22,000 sq. ft. to 43,560 sq. ft. § 17.95.050(D)(2), and would lead to significant environmental impacts including damage to sensitive plant and animal species and habitat from pesticide exposure, objectionable skunk-like odors flooding adjacent properties/neighbors’ houses, contamination of surface waters as chemicals wash off of marijuana grows, significant depletion of groundwater supplies, increases in traffic, and increases in crime associated with marijuana activities. In addition, the New Marijuana Ordinance limits well monitoring tests to the first five years after permit issuance and further, will allow significant declines in groundwater levels to occur year after year, even during the first five years.

In conjunction with the New Marijuana Ordinance the County adopted a series of related resolutions and approvals as part of its new marijuana program. For instance, it added an unbudgeted new department, a Division of Cannabis Control, Commercial Cannabis Cultivation Regulatory Fee, the Cannabis Background Badge Ordinance, and Cannabis Background Clearance Badge Fee requiring more staff and funding/budgeted allocation diversions.

Violations of the marijuana regulations, previously punishable as misdemeanors, are now punishable as infractions, providing less deterrent effect to those who would seek to violate the law § 17.95.160(F).

The County is markedly less safe because the Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s office have been removed from the background check process for growers and their seasonal workers.

CRACM asks the Superior Court to order that Defendants comply with California environmental and planning laws and regulations, and vacate and set aside defendants’ actions taken to date.

In summary, CRACM’s lawsuit arises from the Calaveras County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors having ignored the pleas of its department heads, business owners, pastors, parents, grandparents, physicians, and teachers to protect our beautiful pristine county and having forged ahead without regard to California environmental law and regulations and public safety of all who live here and those who come to visit, relatives/friends or spend their vacations here.

CRACM was left with no choice but to challenge the New Marijuana Ordinance and ask the Court to require that the County consider alternatives and adequately disclose, analyze, and mitigate the significant environmental impacts resulting from New Marijuana Ordinance. CRACM urges the County to properly evaluate the ordinance and to make an informed decision that reduces impacts to public safety from marijuana related crime, and preserves the quiet, peace, and rural beauty of the County and its natural landscape.

Calaveras Residents Against Commercial Marijuana (CRACM), an unincorporated group of ordinary citizens residing in Calaveras County, is best known for its 2016 successful effort to help defeat the well-funded marijuana growers’ attempt to permit marijuana (cannabis) to be commercially grown within Calaveras County (Measure D). And, in 2018, the group helped to successfully turn back the Angels Camp City Council’s attempt to allow a marijuana manufacturing, testing and distribution facility in Angels Camp.



Your contributions will help us continue to protect Calaveras.

Click here to make an online donation today, or

Donate by sending a check to CRACM, PO Box 785, Altaville, CA 95221.

If you have any questions, please contact Calaveras Residents Against Commercial Marijuana by emailing us.

Calaveras County New Marijuana Ordinance Impacts


On October 22, 2019 Calaveras County Supervisors, Jack Garamendi, Merita Callaway and Ben Stopper voted to bring back Commercial Marijuana Cultivation to Calaveras County and overturned the BAN Ordinance. These three have disregarded and ignored the pleas and testimony of the Sheriff, District Attorney, County department heads and Residents.

In CRACM’s view the new marijuana ordinances have:

Failed to adequately mitigate the strong malodorous odors that come from regulated outdoor marijuana grows. Odors can travel over 2600 ft. and can permeate the air for months at a time. The exposure of people to objectionable odors will be significant and unavoidable.

Allowed for outdoor personal grows of 6 plants on the property of a residence with few restrictions and just a 75 foot set back from property lines.

Increased outdoor cultivation from 22,000 sq. ft. to 43,560 sq. ft. (From ½ acre to 1 acre) per site, and allows co-location of multiple grows on a single parcel e.g., if a neighbor has a 100 acre parcel, they can now grow up to 5 acres of marijuana (1 acre of cultivation for each 20 acres of parcel size). This can result in significant impacts to ground water tables.

Increased the potential for significant impacts to water resources especially in localized areas. A one acre grow requires approximately 780,000 gallons of water per year, a five acre grow 3.9 million gallons, a 10 acre grow 7.8 million gallons and so on.

Allowed for recreational marijuana not just medical marijuana, along with self-distribution without tracking where the marijuana will be sold. This could potentially increase the black market.

Included a massive expansion of the County Administrative Office to process the permits to cultivate marijuana. The new department, Calaveras County Division of Cannabis Control requires 20 full time equivalent employees to administer the permitting process, according to the Calaveras County Fee Study report at a cost of $1.2 million. All this without a budget to pay for it.

Removed our Sheriff and District Attorney from control of the Cannabis Background Clearance Badge process. Instead, the Supervisors voted to give that responsibility to the new Cannabis Control Department, which is most certainly counterproductive to public safety.

Increased our potential for violent crime. When there is a policy change, marijuana growers overwhelm local resources and saturate private lands. This allows criminals to hide in plain sight threatening our local safety, environment and water. Illegal growers are correlated with an increase in cannabis-related crime, including but not limited to robbery, assault, and murder.

To read the full ordinance(s) visit Calaveras County Planning Dept.

These are some of the reasons we continue to oppose commercial marijuana cultivation in Calaveras County. 

We must now call on you, our fellow residents, friends, relatives, churches and businesses to make donations today. The burden to go forward falls on each of us to protect residents, the youth, visitors and culture of Calaveras County. Your donations will help us continue to protect Calaveras County.