Pubdate: Wed, 17 Oct 2007
Source: Times-Standard (Eureka, CA)
Copyright: 2007 MediaNews Group, Inc.
Cited: Arcata City Council
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


The Arcata City Council is on the right track by exploring ways it 
can have a say in the proliferation and the safety of marijuana grows 
in the city. A task force has been proposed to recommend ways the 
land-use laws can regulate the location, size and operation of grows.

This issue came to the forefront after a fire damaged a rented home, 
and Arcata's fire chief said that grows are to blame for more than 
half the city's house fires. That certainly indicates things have 
gotten out of hand, and the safety of the public should not be left 
solely to the state's Proposition 215 laws. The recent fire is a 
perfect example.

Renters of the recently renovated home, who lived elsewhere, had cut 
holes in the ceiling for ventilation and another large one in the 
floor; set up irrigation systems and lights hanging from chains, used 
a hot tub to cultivate seeds, and generally trashed the place out, 
the home's owner told the Arcata Eye. Even scarier, for those in the 
Alice Avenue neighborhood, were the cases of butane stacked high, 
near a box of empty nitrous oxide cylinders.

After a fan fell over, causing $20,000 in fire damage, nobody was 
charged with anything, because the multiple-room grow was a 
co-operative for five medical marijuana patients, all of whom had 
Prop. 215 certification. The lease had a "no drugs" provision, but 
since the grow was legal there had been no violation, the renter said.

The owner of an Arcata medical marijuana dispensary told the city 
council on Oct. 3 that he had 5,000 customers, and his is not the 
only cannabis club in town. The spread of grows to every corner of 
Arcata also has wider implications than public safety, such as the 
destruction of neighborhoods, a squeeze on Humboldt State student 
housing, unsavory nighttime activity, and offensive smells.

Community Development Director Tom Conlon argues that a task force -- 
with as many as six to eight meetings -- would eat up a hundred hours 
of valuable staff time unnecessarily. On the other hand, Councilman 
Michael Machi notes that an eventual ordinance could affect as many 
as a third of all Arcatans, which makes community "buy-in" important.

We agree that all parts of the community deserve a say -- including 
those who are not part of the marijuana world but feel their town 
becoming less colorful and friendly because of these grows, and more 
sinister and unsavory. Perhaps a series of public meetings would 
function as well as a task force in helping people be heard.

But whatever the format, Arcata deserves to have a some control of 
how Prop. 215 is affecting its quality of life. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake