Pubdate: Mon, 09 Jun 2014
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2014 The Sacramento Bee
Author: Brad Branan
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)


Sacramento County supervisors are expected Tuesday to limit the 
indoor growth of marijuana to nine plants per house in unincorporated areas.

The indoor restriction comes nearly two months after the Board of 
Supervisors unanimously voted to ban outdoor marijuana growth, 
joining a number of other California cities and counties that have 
targeted cultivation in response to safety and nuisance complaints. 
Sheriff Scott Jones said earlier this year a profusion of marijuana 
grows have led to burglaries and, in some cases, fatal shootings.

Supervisors said a separate indoor rule that allows for limited 
growth acknowledges the need for patients to provide for their own 
needs without disturbing other county residents. The new ordinance 
allows for indoor growth of nine plants only in single-family 
detached homes. It also specifies that plants must be concealed from 
public view.

Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan introduced the restrictions earlier 
this year, citing complaints from residents.

Some supervisors said they wanted to strike a balance between federal 
and state marijuana laws.

"We still hang in this very odd limbo between what the 
compassionate-use law says and what federal law says," Supervisor 
Phil Serna said.

But medical marijuana advocates said nine plants won't meet the needs 
of the sickest patients.

Bob Bowerman, president of the Sacramento chapter of the National 
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the nine-plant 
limit would allow patients to have an ounce a month, at best. 
Bowerman said he knows people who need an ounce or two a week.

The amount of marijuana needed for medical purposes depends on the 
illness and how it's ingested  smoked versus eaten. When pot is put 
into food or oil, it requires greater quantities, he said. NORML and 
other advocates had asked supervisors to allow 18 plants.

Chris Pahule of the county's Community Development Department said 
the limit was not designed to meet the needs of all medical marijuana 
patients. Instead, it was designed with law enforcement officials to 
create an enforceable law.

He said staff research found that each plant could produce 1 to 4 
ounces, far more than what Bowerman says.

On May 28, during the board's second discussion of growth 
restrictions, supervisors scheduled the proposed indoor restriction 
for Tuesday's consent agenda. That means the board doesn't plan to 
discuss the measure further and expects to approve it.

Cities in Sacramento County restrict indoor growth to specific 
square-footage limits rather than plant numbers. Those range from 25 
square feet in Rancho Cordova to 400 square feet in Sacramento, 
according to county officials.

Local governments have moved to regulate growth after a state court 
ruling in November upheld their ability to ban cultivation despite 
the state's 1996 initiative legalizing marijuana for medical use.

The ruling by the Sacramento-based 3rd District Court of Appeal, 
upholding a ban in the city of Live Oak, paved the way for similar 
ordinances across California. Most bans have focused on outdoor 
cultivation, while Fresno County has gone the furthest by prohibiting 
outdoor and indoor medical marijuana grows, according to the 
California chapter of NORML.

The county's ban on outdoor pot gardens is already in effect, while 
the indoor restrictions won't go into place until mid-July.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom