Marijuana and Cannabis News

Sacramento Bans Outdoor Pot Cultivation, Allows Greenhouses
By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in Growing, Legislation, Medical
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm
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Cannabis Sativa

The headlines in the mainstream press read "Outdoor Marijuana Cultivation Ban," but the Emerald Growers Association (EGA) and California NORML both endorsed Sacramento's personal use medical cannabis cultivation ordinance, which follows a statewide trend in outlawing the outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana. What's up?

After almost an hour of testimony, the Sacramento City Council on Tuesday night followed through on a vote last month which signaled its intent to join other cities around California in placing tighter restrictions around cannabis cultivation, reports Ryan Lillis at The Sacramento Bee. The council voted 6-2 to enact the ordinance.

But all of the Emerald Growers Association's policy goals were reportedly achieved, as follows:

• Reasonable square footage allowance for personal cultivation
• Reasonable wattage for artificial light (3,800 watts)
• Sensible policy on natural sunlight cultivation: Alternative structures acceptable if compliant (secure locked door; solid, non-transparent, not-easily-penetrated walls and roofs; and odor-free -- all conditions met by a secure greenhouse system)
• No special registration or permit required for personal use cultivation; rather, complaint-driven enforcement

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The Modesto Bee
Sacramento City Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy: "I think that people have a right to quality of life"
Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy, chief proponent of the outdoor cultivation ban, said outdoor marijuana patches had "led to crime and fear" in her northern Sacramento district. "I think that people have a right to quality of life," she said. One wonders, then, if she includes medical marijuana patients in that assessment.

"The current situation is not working in our neighborhoods," agreed Councilman Kevin McCarty.

But Councilmen Steve Cohn and Jay Schenirer, who voted against the ordinance, urged the council to avoid adopting the law.

"I think we're on the wrong side of history," Cohn said. "We're better than this. We can do it in a measured way that doesn't take away rights from medical patients."

Schenirer asked the city to work with the medical marijuana community on another ordinance that is "a little more balanced" and doesn't punish responsible growers. 

City officials have claimed that outdoor cannabis crops, and the odor they emit, have created "public nuisances" in some parts of the city (read: uptight neighbors who darkly suspect that maybe, just maybe, someone isn't as miserable as they).

Patient rights advocate Lynette Davies said other segments of everyday life, from backyard chickens, now legal in the city, to hamburger joints -- also emit fumes but are accepted. "We can still make this work," she said.

Some medical marijuana patient advocates argued that an outdoor cultivation ban makes it difficult for many patients to find room in their homes to grow marijuana, or to afford greenhouses.

The change was described as "cruel" and in violation of the state law that made the medicinal use of marijuana legal by Ryan Landers, who helped craft California's original medicinal cannabis law. "You don't have the right to do this to the patients," he said.


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