CO: Longmont Council Hears Medical Pot Testimony, Rethinks Home-Grow Rules


Even though marijuana home grows weren’t on the Longmont City Council’s agenda Tuesday night, members of the public came out and forced a discussion.

On Sept. 6, the council considered draft regulations proposed by city staff because staff said the city was receiving complaints about home-grow odors and other issues.

Council generally approved of limiting the amount of marijuana plants per residence to six. The home-grow ordinance was due to come back before the council on first reading on Sept. 27, but after hearing from medical marijuana users in Longmont, the council gave a general direction to make some changes and get some more feedback before the ordinance comes back.

Currently, Longmont residents are governed by state law, which allows Coloradans to grow up to six plants per resident over 21 in their homes for personal use. Personal marijuana use and cultivation is still illegal under federal law.

But under Colorado law, plants must be kept in an enclosed, locked area that can’t be viewed openly. Municipalities can pass stricter laws related to home grows if they choose.

Under the proposed draft ordinance, Longmont code inspectors could enter a home where the owner had a home grow with either the homeowner’s consent or with a warrant.

But, an inspector could also enter a home “in the case of an emergency involving imminent danger to public health, safety, or welfare” without a warrant or permission from the homeowner.

Of the 14 people who spoke to the council during the public invited to be heard, 12 mentioned the draft home-grow regulations. Eleven of the speakers urged the council to either alter the regulations or not approve them at all, while one mentioned the dangers of marijuana use.

Harrison Palmer told the council he is a licensed attorney in Georgia and lives in Longmont. He said the entry issue was a particular concern to him.

“How can a plant pose imminent danger – the key word being imminent?” Palmer said. “To ask lay people to stand up for their rights is neither tenable or appropriate in a democracy … This is not North Korea, nor is it Soviet Russia, nor is it Nazi Germany. This is America, where our rights were bestowed upon us by our forefathers.”

Don Mcphail told the council that he a disable veteran who takes nine different medications for various issues and uses cannabidiol oil.

“I’m not a recreational partaker; never have been. It just wasn’t my thing,” Mcphail said. “I’ve found oils help me with plantar fasciitis, neuropathy, arthritis and a ton of things. The list is this long. So the limit of six plants for me to go to someone, a caregiver can’t produce enough for me.”

Mcphail said he’s on disability and constantly going to dispensaries is cost prohibitive.

“From a veteran, I’m asking you guys to do what’s right for me and all other veterans,” Mcphail said.

William Gretz echoed Mcphail’s comments, saying he is on disability and consumes edible marijuana morning and night to deal with medical issues.

“The plant count you’ve proposed is ludicrously low for people with serious issues,” Gretz said. “It requires a lot of plants. You’re not being realistic. I’m on a limited income. It’s fixed. Please don’t confuse the commercial market with the medical market. That is unconscionable.”

Georgetta Johnston, who regularly has talked to the council about her and her husband’s affordable-housing issues, added to her comments Tuesday that she has seen the personal damage that marijuana use has done in her family and warned against it.

At the end of the meeting, council members gave their general thoughts on the proposed ordinance.

Councilman Brian Bagley, who wasn’t at the Sept. 6 meeting, said he was concerned about the entry without a warrant part too and would like a lot more information.

“How many plants are necessary for someone who requires medical-marijuana usage?” Bagley asked. “I’ve smelled a pot grow – a big one, but I’ve never smelled six plants. Is there a way to measure to odor instead of plant number?”

Councilwoman Polly Christensen said she would like city staff to talk to people with chronic conditions to see what amount is necessary.

“Part of this is to create less problems and for greater safety,” Christensen said. “But I think we’re stuck in the weeds a little bit.”

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Longmont Council Hears Medical Pot Testimony, Rethinks Home-Grow Rules
Author: Karen Antonacci
Contact: 303-776-2244
Photo Credit: Matthew Jonas
Website: Times-Call