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Rules aimed at neighborhood issues over pot

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POSTED May 7, 2013 2:26 a.m.

An ordinance allowing for the cultivation and possession of medical marijuana could finally be updated at tonight’s Ripon City Council meeting.

 If passed, card holders – in particular, those relying on the drug for relief of cancer and other illnesses or glaucoma – would be able to grow and cultivate their own plants under certain guidelines.

The changes were done in accordance with the guidelines established by the California Environmental Quality Act.

For starters, all qualified people would be required to register with the Ripon Police Department with full details of their grow operation.

They’ll be allowed to have up to six mature plants, 12 immature plants, and 8 ounces of processed marijuana.

These plants, however, must be placed in a ventilated “detached, fully enclosed and secured” structure that’s no more than 120 square feet. Previous such structures were makeshift, visible, accessible, and built along a fence with material such as chicken wire.

The amendment would prohibit outdoor cultivation.

Those who can legally grow and cultivate marijuana must do so outside of 300 feet – that’s from the closest property line of the cultivation parcel – from schools, child care facilities or parks.

 A change was needed given the situation and circumstances brought to the attention of staff by the Ripon Police Department and code compliance officers.

Police, for one, received complaints from neighbors on the matter. They reportedly ranged from disagreeable odors, burglary, and other act property crimes along with acts of violence.

“We think (the additions related to the ordinance) will reduce burglaries, strong odors and short-stay traffic in our neighborhoods,” Detective Sgt. Terri Jensen said at the previous council meeting.

Police, under the change, would be allowed to enter and search these grow facilities to make sure everything is up to compliance.

For the city, these changes come as “neither the intent nor effect of this chapter to condone or legitimize the use of marijuana.”

This item is listed as a second reading and up for adoption at the 7 p.m. open session.

The meeting will take place inside the Council Chambers, 259 N. Wilma Ave.

More information can be obtained by calling Ripon City Hall, 209-599-2108 or log on to www.cityofripon.org.

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