CA: Council To Consider Marijuana Cultivation

0
418

Martinez, Calif. Should Martinez impose a moratorium on indoor and outdoor cultivation of marijuana?

City Attorney Jeffrey A. Walter suggests it should, through interim urgency ordinances the Council could pass in anticipation of voters deciding the fate of Proposition 64 during the Nov. 8 election.

That proposition would legalize marijuana for recreational use in California.

The Council will open a public hearing on Walters proposed ordinances tonight. Hes recommending the Council approve emergency ordinances that would prevent outdoor cultivation of non-medical use plants, and would limit indoor production of any marijuana plants.

In his report to the Council, Walter wrote that if Proposition 64 is passed, it would make legal in California the nonmedical use of marijuana by those 21 and older. It would allow cultivation of up to six plants for personal use.

Those 21 or older could smoke or ingest marijuana or marijuana products, he wrote. It also would allow the possession of 28.5 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated marijuana as well as its processing, transport, purchase, obtaining or giving away without compensation.

The measure would allow an adult to have, cultivate or process up to six living plants for personal use,. More than the personal limit amounts of marijuana or its concentrate would need to be kept in a locked space in a private home and not visible from a public place.

The use, Walter said, is not unfettered.

Smoking marijuana would be forbidden in certain places, and it cant be brought to school grounds, daycare centers or youth centers while children are present. It cant be in an open container in a transportation vehicle.

The measure also would let cities prohibit its possession and smoking in buildings owned, leased or occupied by those cities, and would allow employers to require drug and alcohol free work places, he wrote.

Commercial activity wouldnt be allowed until the Bureau of Marijuana Control adopts a state regulatory system governing the industry from seed to sale, Walter wrote.

But its license couldnt be issued if it violated provisions of a local agency, such as Martinez. Walter predicted state regulations wouldnt be in place until January 2018.

Cities could regulate but not ban personal cultivation of up to six living plants inside a persons home, including apartments and other types of dwellings, the measure would provide. Plants also could be grown in greenhouses, so long as it is enclosed and secured and not visible from a public space. If the measure passes, this would be allowed beginning Nov. 9, he wrote.

Outdoor cultivation could be regulated or banned outright, according to the measure, he wrote. Strangely, Proposition 64 includes language that purports to repeal any local ban on personal outdoor cultivation if, in the future, the Attorney General determines that nonmedical use of marijuana is lawful under federal law, he wrote.

Martinez City Council has several options, Walter wrote. For one, it could do nothing, waiting to see if Proposition 64 passes. The city already bans outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana.

If the Council doesnt act and should Proposition 64 pass, those who start cultivating nonmedical marijuana inside and outside could argue they have the right to do so with immunity from any regulations enacted later by the city, Walter wrote

He suggested a different approach, the adoption urgency ordinances that ban outdoor cultivation of nonmedical marijuana and regulating indoor cultivation of the plants for either medical or nonmedical use. If the Council wants to act before Proposition 64 possibly passes, it must adopt an interim moratorium, he wrote.

Proposition 64 characterizes marijuana as an agricultural product, so he urged the Council to look at how Martinezs code regulates agriculture.

There may be a strong argument that wherever the citys zoning code allows crop production, plant growing or horticultural activities, the cultivation of nonmedical marijuana would also be permitted, he wrote.

He wrote that the same reasons the Council chose to ban outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana could be used to in deciding to prevent outdoor cultivation of nonmedical marijuana. The moratorium initially would be for 45 days, but could be extended to last a total of two years.

That would give Martinez officials time to study the impacts of Proposition 64 as well as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, he wrote.

His proposed the ordinance to regulate a building in which cultivation takes place, limit grow lights to 1,000 watts per lite, prohibit gas products, require adequate filtration and ventilation, keep cultivation tied to residential use, forbid exterior evidence of cultivation from being seen from public places and require written consent of the property owner and the presence of a portable fire extinguisher.

Walter recommended similar regulations for indoor cultivation of medical marijuana, including limiting the number of plants to six per residence. Outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana plants would remain prohibited.

In other matters, the Council will hear a Climate Action Plan and Sustainability Program report by Michael Chandler, assistant to the city manager.

Starting last year, Martinez instituted residential and commercial organics collection, which has diverted 5,839 tons of compostable materials away from the landfill. The previous year, 3,982 tons were taken to the landfill, Chandlers report said.

Martinez used its $92,000 CalRecycle grant to fund two programs, one of which teaches school children about recycling and the other added recycling bins to city parks and the downtown business district.

The city also participated for the third year in the Youth Energy Services Program to teach homeowners about water and energy conservation and to conduct conservation assessments.

Martinez received contributions from Tesoro Foundation of $10,000, Republic Services, which gave $5,000, East Bay Energy Watch, which gave $5,000 and gifts of office space and equipment from the Boys and Girls Club of Diablo Valley for those programs, too.

The city participated in the Californias Coolest City contest, and received $8,745 from the challenge to replace old and diseased trees from the downtown corridor.

In June, the city welcomed residents to take a workshop on reducing, reusing and recycling, the three approaches to lowering the citys waste production, and Martinez had a booth as its eighth year attending the Earth Day celebration.

The Council will honor former members of the Park, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission, John Fuller and Gay Gerlack, and former Contra Costa Transportation Agency Citizens Advisory Committee member Richard Evans. It also will recognize November as National Hospice palliative Care Month.

Martinez Police will give a canine presentation, and Republic Services will join the Council in announcing the 2016 Recycling Champions Eco Awards.

The Martinez City Council will meet at 7 tonight in the Council Chamber of City Hall, 525 Henrietta St.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Council To Consider Marijuana Cultivation
Author: Donna Beth Weilenman
Contact: (925) 228-6400
Photo Credit: Larry Mayer
Website: Martinez News-Gazette