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City Considers Ban on Outdoor Medical Marijuana Plants

A discussion about regulating the cultivation of medical marijuana plants outdoors in Concord took place during Tuesday's council meeting. How do you think growers should be dealt with, if at all?

Should growing pot outdoors, even for medical purposes, be banned in Concord? Of just regulated?

The city is trying to decide what to do about the issue of outdoor medical marijuana cultivation, and after a discussion at the Dec. 11 city council meeting, is considering an outright ban. Concord will be considering an ordiance similar to that imposed in the City of Moraga, which stipulates that:

  • No person owning, renting, leasing, occupying, or having charge or possession of any parcel shall cause or allow such parcel to be used for the outdoor cultivation of marijuana plants.
  • No person owning, renting, leasing, occupying, having charge or possession of a parcel shall cause or allow indoor cultivation on such parcel to be visible from any street, sidewalk or other place freely accessible by the public.

A complaint was brought to the council back in October about the smell of plants and concerns over the safety of growing drugs — medically acceptable kinds or not — in residential neighborhoods. The Concord Police Department confirms that there are a number of residences in Concord where pot is being cultivated outdoors.

Some problems association with growing pot outdoors are described in the staff recommendation for the Dec. 11 council meeting, the "offensive" smell. The report adds that "the presence of medical marijuana plants grown outdoors creates a risk to public safety, since their value and visibility encourage trespass[ing] and theft, posing the accompanying risk of violence and injury." When the plants are grown close to schools, there is also a concern that of "theft and use by school-aged children."

State law permits medical marijuana patients to grow their own supply, although no stipulations have been set as to whether marijuana should be cultivated indoors or out.

As such, the Concord City Council has the power to impose an outright ban, if it so chooses. The City of Moraga, for example, has a blanket ban on outdoor medical marijuana cultivation.

Concord could also opt for an ordinance instead, such as that implemented by Elk Grove. The ordinance requires that:

  • Only the medical marijuana patient or primary caregiver may grow the plants
  • A permit be obtained before cultivating marijuana
  • A fee may need to be paid
  • Plants are are only grown in residential and agricultural-residential zones
  • The plants must be at least 1,000 feet away from any school, child care center, or public park
  • Growing structures must be located in the rear yard area, a minimum of ten 10 feet from any property line, enclosed by a solid fence at least 6 feet in height, secure, no larger than 120 square feet, and inspected by the city
  • The structures also have a ventilation and filtration system installed to prevent marijuana plant odors from wafting into the neighborhood
  • Mechanical or electronic security systems are approved by the city and installed in and around the detached structure or the residential structure prior to growing
  • Medical marijuana plants shall not be visible from outside the building in which they are grown

What do you think the city should do about growing medical marijuana outdoors? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Trader26 December 16, 2012 at 05:45 AM
I think the city and the citizen that complained have good points, but I also think they are making it too complicated and I don't want to trounce on individual's rights. The smell is most likely because of the number of plants. Keep it simple. Allow 2-4 plants to be grown outdoors under 6 feet, so they are not visible and therefore not a temptation etc and impose a $2000 fine for each plant grown over that. The smell will be managed, the children protected, the council will be taking a responsive and aggressive stand and the individual who needs the medical marijuana should be able to grow enough to satisfy their need.
Ron December 17, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Good points. The most salient point is that the City should not trounce on individual's rights. Some of these suggestions are overly restrictive. For example, not allowing medical marijuana to be grown within 1000 ft of a school. Does this mean someone with a serious medical condition where only marijuana helps should have to sell his/her home and move somewhere else only because he/she happens to live within 1000 ft of a school. And how exactly would someone in this condition be able to afford an expensive mechanical or electronic security system? Please. Lets think before we do something rash. After all, the people of California have spoken in favor of the use of medical marijuane, so lets move forward into the 21st century, and not try to move backwards to the 20th century. Look around, at Washington and Colorado. More are coming. The genie is coming out of the bottle. We can't stop it. So lets be progressive and make it work for everybody.
Daniel January 09, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Can Concord afford such an ordinance? Any ordinance such as above would be very difficult and expensive to enforce. A search warrant $ would have to be served. Even the FEDS stated they would respect state laws when it comes to the individual. Maybe the city wants to invest your tax dollars in drones? Aren't there more pressing problems for the city such as crime, lack of adequate peace officers, lack of funds. California has spoken and the city of Concord wants to trample on the rights of the individual. The City Council created an ordinance to protect YOUR health banning outdoor smoking downtown because second hand cigarette smoke is carcinogenic. The smell of marijuana flowers is not. Shall we ban roses from the back yards of homes because they have an odor that someone does not like or perhaps because they have thorns. Think about it and let the Council know they need to prioritize and not trample on the rights of their citizens.
lousie thomas January 15, 2013 at 09:30 AM
I don't think so That, there should be ban on Outdoor Medical Marijuana Plants.

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