Thursday Jul 21 2011
Roseville council holds off on pot ban
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
Requests more time to consider proposed ordinance that prohibits outdoor medical marijuana cultivation
Roseville patients who use medical marijuana will have to wait a little longer to find out if they will be allowed to continue growing their weed outdoors. The Roseville City Council considered a proposed ordinance during Wednesday’s meeting that would ban outdoor medical marijuana gardens in response to residents’ concerns about these gardens in their neighborhoods, especially the odor. After hearing from several opponents of the ban, the council decided to hold off on making a decision until they could do more research and find out how similar ordinances have worked in other cities. Opponents said moving cultivation indoors can lead to fire hazards and will cost growers more in electric bills. Growers will have to install the proper lights and indoor exhaust equipment, which can be expensive. One grower said he lives in a two-bedroom duplex and lacks the space to cultivate indoors. “It’s the affordability and safety issues that bother me,” said Roseville resident Ora Roberts. “I’m on a fixed income, I’m disabled and it’s going to devastate me if I have to go indoors.” The proposed ordinance prohibits outdoor cultivation and addresses other related safety issues. For example, it prohibits the use of butane and similar flammable gases in processing. The proposed ordinance prohibits the conversion of homes, including vacant houses, for the sole purpose of marijuana cultivation. A person who grows medical marijuana must maintain living areas in the house for normal use. Councilman John Allard expressed concern over moving pot plants inside, where monitoring is less easy. “That’s my concern, there is no way to monitor it once it’s indoors and hidden from public view,” Allard said. “We’re basically saying take it and hide it.” The proposed ordinance also limits indoor cultivation to no more than 50-square-feet and no taller than 10 feet, with exceptions. The ordinance also states that indoor cultivation may not affect the health and safety of neighbors by creating dust, glare, smoke, noise or order. A violator would be fined $500 each day the violation continues to occur after the day it was supposed to be abated. Rocklin, Rancho Cordova, Willits and Manteca are some other cities with similar restrictions in place, said Roseville Police Chief Daniel Hahn. Jack Wallace, president of Cresthaven Neighborhood Association, said his group initiated the ordinance request. “It’s a public nuisance,” Wallace told the Press Tribune. “Growing marijuana emits a smell much like a skunk. Neighbors who live close, some say they can’t use their backyards because the smell is so bad. One person couldn’t use their swimming pool.” Under Proposition 215, California patients with a valid doctor’s recommendation have the right to possess and grow pot for personal medical use. Cities can regulate how, when and where medical marijuana is grown. Marijuana dispensaries are not allowed within Roseville city limits. Local patients who do not grow at their residence must go to Sacramento County to buy medical marijuana. “The goal is to allow authorized patients access to medical marijuana as authorized by state law, while protecting the health and safety of surrounding neighborhoods,” said Roseville spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther. Sena Christian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.