Pubdate: Wed, 09 Dec 2009
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2009 Record Searchlight
Author: Scott Mobley
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Redding inched closer Tuesday to enacting comprehensive  regulations
on medical marijuana cultivation and  cannabis club locations when the
Planning Commission  voted to endorse new zoning.

The commission's vote is merely a recommendation to the  City Council,
which must ultimately approve the zoning.

The city would allow outdoor and indoor medical  marijuana cultivation
for qualified patients under the  proposed zoning, but limit the size
and location of the  grows.

Redding would restrict outdoor gardens to 100 square  feet of canopy
and allow them only in backyards and  interior side yards 30 feet from
the nearest neighbor.  The city also would limit plant heights to 8
feet and  require a 6-foot-tall fence around crops.

A couple of commissioners thought a 10-foot-by-10-foot  garden might
be too small, and noted the city would  review the ordinance in six

Redding would limit indoor gardens to 100 square feet  of canopy or 10
percent of the home, whichever was  larger. The city also would
require a certified  electrician to sign off on any electrical loads
for  cultivation larger than 1,200 watts.

Finally, the city would limit new medicinal cannabis  clubs to heavy
commercial and general commercial zones  on the city outskirts, under
the proposed zoning.

Commission votes on yard setbacks for outdoor grows and  zoning
restrictions for cannabis clubs were nearly  unanimous, with only
Emmett Burroughs dissenting.  Burroughs favored tighter limits on
clubs and an  outdoor cultivation ban.

The commission nearly split on cultivation standards,  voting 4-3.
Some commissioners, like Burroughs, favored  tighter restrictions,
while others, like Cameron  Middleton, worried a city requirement that
growers for  collectives sign an affidavit with the development
services director could compromise privacy.

Commissioners defended the proposed zoning as a  reasonable middle
ground after hearing from more than a  half-dozen speakers, most of
whom criticized the zoning  as too restrictive and invasive. Several
speakers were  especially upset about the limits on outdoor
cultivation for personal use, noting they could not  afford to grow
indoors or to join a cannabis club.

"I think this whole thing has been blown out of  proportion," James
Benno said. "What if I don't like  tomatoes and I find four others who
don't like  tomatoes? Can we vote out tomato growing in Redding?"

Others said Redding's regulations violate Proposition  215,
California's Compassionate Use Law, and promised a  class-action
lawsuit against the city.

Commissioners generally praised the regulations after  picking them
apart line by line over the course of  three meetings.

"We want as much as possible to allow people to use  marijuana
medically if they have a legitimate  recommendation," Commissioner
Lynne Wonacott said. "Our  goal is the health and safety of you and
your neighbors  and the city as a whole. Is it a perfect system? No,
but we are not like other communities that have tried  to shut the
whole thing down."

The zoning restrictions endorsed by commissioners  Tuesday complement
cannabis club regulations adopted  Dec. 1 by the council that are set
to take effect in  January.

Collectives must allow the police chief access to their  records so
authorities can determine whether the clubs  serve qualified medical
marijuana patients under the  new regulations.

The city also will require doctors to specify amounts  in their
medical marijuana recommendations to  collective members, limit
cannabis sales to dried buds  and ask members to verify that they
don't belong to  more than one collective in Shasta County.

These regulations are designed to weed out  profit-driven dope dealers
from legitimate medical  marijuana collectives, which are supposed to
be  nonprofit, Redding officials have said. Officials  expect many of
Redding's estimated 20 to 30 clubs to  shut down next year, once the
new rules take effect. 
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