City leaders in Concord, Calif. clearly don’t appreciate the bountiful Northern California sun as much as everyone else does. On Tuesday, city council unanimously decided that medical marijuana patients can no longer harness the power of the sun in their own backyards to grow their medicine. Instead, they’ll have to move them indoors under artificial, watt-sucking lights.
Apparently nobody told City Council that being environmentally conscious is kind of a big deal in Northern California.
The ban was based on a few non-toking neighbors complaining about skunky smells wafting over fence lines. City Attorney Mark Coon tells CBS SF Bay Area that he drafted the ordinance after a similar ban in nearby Moraga, just east of Oakland. Coon says police have told him neighbors are concerned about crime increasing.
“I think the council struggled with the decision because it’s difficult to find a middle ground,” Coon told CBS. “I think the council sincerely wants to protect the rights of medical marijuana patients and the rights of the general public who don’t use medical marijuana.”
Medical marijuana activists, however, say that this further limits their access to legal medicine. Concord has banned medcial marijuana dispensaries since 2005. Several patients testified at the council meeting last night, including Shalene Smith who uses cannabis for her arthritis.
“If I didn’t have marijuana, I would not be standing in front of you today,” she said, according to the Concord Patch. “Being forced to grow marijuana indoors will be a big expense in electricity costs plus reserving a room for growth, she said. If the law is finalized, she said, “the next home I buy will be not be in the city of Concord, if this is the type of government we have.”
According to the San Jose Mercury News, the main focus of the complaints was the backyard of legal patient Chris Olsen. Olsen has said that he would sue the city if the ban is approved.