CO: Longmont Council Hears Another Earful About Marijuana Home Grows


The Longmont City Council heard another round of medical marijuana patient testimony Tuesday night about a proposed ordinance that would have limited Longmonters to six marijuana plants per residence.

State Rep. Jonathan Singer attended the council meeting and urged the council to be considerate of medical marijuana patients’ needs and work with him and the state on local regulations.

“I did some off-the-cuff calculations and looked at what one plant would yield. … So over one year you can get 16 ounces per plant assuming zero crop failure and no problems,” Singer told the council, adding that children with chronic issues can’t smoke marijuana. “So it has to be distilled, and 16 ounces from a plant might distill into 90 grams of concentrate. … From one plant you get about 45 days of medicine.”

Jeri Shepherd, who is on the board for the Colorado chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the board passed a resolution opposing the council’s proposed home-grow ordinance.

Shepherd urged the council to reconsider or table the proposed ordinance in the future. The ordinance was supposed to come back next Tuesday, but after an outcry from the medical-marijuana community, the council has asked staff to seek input from medical caregivers, patients and Singer.

Jana Wegelin told the council she lives and works in Longmont but that she isn’t sure how much longer she will be able to work because she has lupus. She uses medical marijuana to manage the autoimmune disease.

“The medicines my doctors were prescribing were basically (chemotherapy) drugs and they would do more damage to my body than their benefits are worth to me,” Wegelin said.

Wegelin added that she is able to get her medical marijuana from dispensaries but in the future that might not be possible as her ability to work diminishes and marijuana becomes more expensive.

“As marijuana becomes more and more accepted, it becomes more and more expensive,” she said before urging the council to reconsider the proposed six-plant limit.

Residents were also concerned about part of the proposed ordinance pertaining to when Longmont inspectors can enter a home to make sure a home grower is following the rules.

The proposed ordinance says that a Longmont inspector shall have the right to enter a residential structure “during reasonable hours … with the consent of the owner or occupant.” But, if that consent isn’t given, the inspector may request a warrant of the municipal judge.

Then the proposed ordinance says “in the case of an emergency involving imminent danger to public health, safety, or welfare, the public inspector may enter any residential structure within the city to conduct an emergency inspection related to the cultivation of marijuana plants without a warrant and without complying with the requirements of this section.”

Longmont Police Officer Sara Aerne clarified to the Times-Call that the intent of that section about a warrantless entry is if a police officer is already in a home because of some other incident, or perhaps called in to a home because of a medical emergency.

The section about warrantless entry, Aerne said, was not intended to give police officers power to enter a home because a marijuana home grow somehow poses an imminent danger.

After public comment, the City Council again took the opportunity to assure residents that they are listening.

“I know the answer is not six plants. And I think the intent of this wasn’t to come and crack down and be the hammer and say, ‘You have too many plants,'” Mayor Dennis Coombs said. “We are certainly not interested in going into peoples’ houses without warrants if they don’t want us there.”

Councilwoman Joan Peck echoed Coombs’ comments assuaging people’s entry fears.

“I’d like to assure people that we would never enter a home without a warrant. I don’t think we ever have … nor would we,” Peck said.

Councilman Brian Bagley prefaced his comments with the thought that he is “wrongly viewed as the anti-pot guy on council” before saying that he identifies as a libertarian and generally just wants people to be able to be left alone.

“Do what you want as long as it doesn’t impact other people,” Bagley said. “In general, going forward, me as one of seven, if there are ways to keep the smell away from neighbors and from transformers blowing up and people who want to smoke pot be able to grow their plants.”

Coombs added that he recently banged his hand on a table.

“I couldn’t even make a fist but I put a marijuana salve with (Cannabidiol) and it works,” Coombs said.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Longmont Council Hears Another Earful About Marijuana Home Grows
Author: Karen Antonacci
Contact: 303-776-2244
Photo Credit: Matthew Jonas
Website: Times-Call