Cannabis Isn’t So Green, Ctd

A reader complements a recent post on the environment hazards of unregulated pot growing:

My city, Chico, California, tried to develop regulations for the growing of medical marijuana by individuals and for the establishment of dispensaries.  California state law has provisions for both. The city approached the issue as a land-use issue, just as the city or county might regulate other agricultural or commercial uses, or public nuisances.  The city discussion began from a complaint by a resident concerning the odors emanating from a neighbor’s individual grow, odors not only from the marijuana plants when in bloom, but from fertilizers and pesticides.

The city worked on a medical marijuana ordinance for at least 18 months.  The entire process was contentious on many levels.  But the city council and staff kept working on it.  The final proposal included regulations for grows and for dispensaries. Then, just two weeks before the final version of the ordinance was to be voted on, the mayor read a letter at a city council meeting.  It was from the US Attorney for our district.

The letter essentially said that under Federal law, city employees who administered this local ordinance would be subject to prosecution for aiding and abetting the production of a controlled subtance.  That is, a city permit officer granting a land-use permit for an individual grow, or a police officer not arresting someone for growing marijuana, could be arrested.  The police department had been supportive of the ordinance, but no more. The city attorney advised that there was no way to write the local ordinance to protect city employees.  The entire ordinance was scrapped.

Mendocino County had a permitting system that worked well, until a similar threat was made by the US Attorney.  The system was suspended. Worth looking into what happened there – it was administered by the Sheriff. (I have a vaque recollection you reported on this.)

For the record, I do not use marijuana either medicinally or recreationally.  But I am persuaded that legalizing it and regulating it as alcohol is legal and regulated makes better sense than our current system.  And the environmental damage done is one reason.