Why proposed Stanislaus County cannabis permits incite fear among rural neighbors

A group of Stanislaus County residents wants county government to disallow legal cannabis businesses and processing operations in agricultural areas where people live the country lifestyle.

The leaders of the petition drive, who are vocally against two cannabis nurseries proposed southwest of Modesto, say commercial marijuana permits should be limited to industrial zones and non-populated rural areas. The group said the petition bearing more than a 1,000 signatures was signed by people throughout the county. It was submitted to the county last week.

The primary concern is that lucrative greenhouses, processing and distribution businesses will be targets of crime in rural neighborhoods dotted with farmhouses, barns, dairies and ranchettes.

“It is inevitable that more crime will show up,” said Nick Blom, a farmer west of Modesto. “It is a cash crop. Even with illegal grows out by the (Tuolumne River), you have to worry when they are carrying weapons. It is not safe.”

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