Pubdate: Thu, 08 Nov 2012
Source: Lodi News-Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2012 Lodi News-Sentinel
Author: Maggie Creamer


City staff has 45 days to come up with ordinance on medicinal

The Lodi City Council approved a temporary ban on qualified patients
and caregivers growing medical marijuana outdoors, but will still
allow indoor cultivation as long as it cannot be seen or smelled from
the public right-of-way.

On Wednesday, the council in a 4-0 vote OK'd the temporary ban that
gives city staff 45 days to come up with a permanent solution or
ordinance regulating the grows. If it will take staff longer, the
council can extend the ban up to a year.

The issue came up after the city received multiple complaints from
residents who could smell or see plants throughout the city, City
Attorney Steve Schwabauer said.

Lodi police know of numerous homes growing medical marijuana, and
there have been burglaries, robberies, violent crimes and electrical
utility thefts because of the cultivation, according to a staff report.

"There has been a concern to ensure that legal uses of medical
marijuana do not result in sight, smell or criminal spill over,"
Schwabauer said.

At a previous shirtsleeve meeting, one woman spoke about her neighbors
growing next door, and complained that there was barbed wire fencing
and that the smell caused headaches, Magdich said.

Lodi resident Joshua Dougherty said he is the neighbor of the woman
who complained. He installed the barbed wire to prevent potential
thieves from jumping the fence, and he and his wife recently bought a

Dougherty uses the marijuana to deal with pain from more than 150
stomach staples, and he gets sick every day. It is important for him
to cultivate because he believes in growing the marijuana

"Being able to grow your own, I can control my fertilizers and
pesticides, and I know that I'm not taking in any poisons," he said.

He wants to ensure that the council allows him to keep growing in his
greenhouse in the permanent ordinance, because growing inside his home
would increase his utility bill to at least $1,300 a month, Dougherty

"I set up a greenhouse and then I hear about this possible ban. Even
making people grow in a greenhouse, it's expensive," he said.

Local resident Robin Rushing, who has frequently appeared at council
meetings arguing in favor of medical marijuana, said medical marijuana
is the only drug he has tried that works for his bladder cancer and
helps him deal with dialysis.

He argued that God created marijuana to help people, and that if there
is not a medical marijuana dispensary in Lodi, people need to be able
to grow in their yards.

"This city council is getting in the way of God's plan for me," he

The council voted 4-0 to approve the interim ordinance, with
Councilman Alan Nakanishi absent.

Councilman Larry Hansen asked city staff to look into how much it
costs to grow marijuana plants, and the difference in expense for
indoor and outdoor growing.

Councilman Bob Johnson requested the public write, call or email
council members about their feelings on outdoor and indoor
cultivation, so that the council can make an informed decision.

Mayor JoAnne Mounce said she has a relative who has been prescribed
medical marijuana for five years, so she understands the importance of
this issue.

She recommended that when Schwabauer works on a permanent ordinance,
he meets with police, concerned neighbors and some of the actual
medical marijuana patients to come up with a solution.

The moratorium will not affect patients who currently grow outdoors,
Mounce said, because the harvest just happened, and they will not
replant until next spring.

Recently, she went to a friend's house, and she said she could smell
another neighbor's plants from across the street.

"As much as I believe in the rights of you to grow, we have to keep in
mind the rights of the other people in your neighborhood," she said.
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