Saturday, 25 May 2024

Marijuana ordinance goes before council

 

The marijuana ordinance was first suggested at the council's Nov. 7 meeting under the “City Council Communications” section of the meeting agenda by Councilman Roy Parmentier, who said he wanted an ordinance to prevent outdoor growing of marijuana due to odor and public safety issues. The topic again came up at the Dec. 5 meeting, where it was scheduled for a future discussion.


A report prepared for the council's Jan. 9 meeting by acting City Manager Richard Knoll notes that the draft ordinance was patterned after one adopted by the City of Ukiah. It would require that all medical marijuana cultivation take place inside a fully enclosed and secure structure subject to a permit issued by the city's Planning Commission, Knoll states in the report.


The measure also would require growers to sign an acknowledgement that growing marijuana “may constitute a Federal Law violation with civil and criminal consequences,” Knoll writes.


Knoll, who also is Lakeport's Community Development director, states that in his CDD capacity, “I do not support this proposed ordinance because I believe that the regulation of growing medicinal marijuana is not entirely a local land use issue. It is a statewide public health issue and legislation should be developed at the state level which provides the guidelines and criteria for growing the medicine.”


He continued, “I also have a significant problem with the idea of Community Development Department staff being given the responsibility to enforce the provisions of this draft ordinance. If adopted and if CDD staff were notified of a potential violation of the ordinance (either outside growing or inside growing without a permit), I would not send CDD staff to investigate the complaint, for safety reasons.”


Such enforcement would more appropriately be a law enforcement issue, he said, and he urges the council to consider designating Lakeport Police the enforcement entity. “I know that the Police Chief has concerns about the ordinance as well,” he added.


In his report, Knoll urges that the City Council needs to “evaluate what is intended with respect to the growing of marijuana ordinance.


“If it is simply a desire to prohibit the outdoor growing of marijuana or to limit the number of plants grown inside or to assure that all growers have the proper doctor's prescription, then the ordinance should be revisited and streamlined to include only these necessary provisions,” writes Knoll.


Knoll said he strongly recommends the council carefully consider the ordinance's implications, specifically the requirement for issuing a city permit for growing marijuana.


“I am not sure the City of Lakeport should be in the business of issuing permits for the growing of marijuana which apparently is a violation of Federal Law,” he writes.


His final recommendation to the council is to modify the proposed five-page ordinance to address the staff concerns.


The issue will be discussed during the city manager's “Administrative Communications” at Tuesday night's meeting.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

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