The cultivation of marijuana for any purpose is officially illegal in Lathrop.
At least for now.
In a bizarre back-and-forth Monday night the council voted 4-1 to approve the second reading of the ordinance that will prohibit the cultivation of all marijuana, including medical, from within the city limits.
But just before the motion passed, the council had a motion and second to bring back the item in a presentation that would have tabled the prohibitory proposal and introduced new ideas towards proper permitting and compliance. At first Vice Mayor Steve Dresser seconded the motion of Councilman Omar Ornelas to table the existing pitch, but then voted to uphold it when the motion failed to get the proper number of votes. Ornelas dissented on the second vote.
The reconsideration had to do with new input from a Lathrop resident named “Alan” who actually grew his own marijuana as an alternative to opiate medication for his ailing wife suffering from lupus, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.
According to the man getting marijuana from a dispensary won’t be an option for him because of the inordinate cost that he circumvented by growing his own plants – less than a dozen of them. He was able to procure small clone plants from a dispensary at $12 each and then grow them into fully mature plants with specialized fertilizer. All told, he said, it cost him about $200 to grow enough marijuana to supply his wife for a year.
If he was prevented from doing that it would end up costing him between $100 and $200 each week depending on pricing.
“It’s an affordable medicine for our family members,” he said. “I’d like to see this stopped because I thought that California already voted to allow this and now you’re taking it away. I can understand wanting to outlaw commercial growers but that’s not what I’m trying to do here.”
And things got a little bit contentious on the dais.
When Dresser publicly weighed the benefit of enacting an ordinance that might impact – positively or negatively – only a few people he was met with a sharp retort for Ornelas vehemently opposed the ban when it first came before the council for consideration.
“You started by saying that you didn’t know what the problem was or how big it was but you finished by saying that this is only going to affect a few people and I don’t know if we have the data to make that statement because we don’t know what the problem is so how can we know how many people that it is affecting?” Ornelas asked. “This guy was brave enough to come up here and speak about his family and what he’s facing, but we don’t really know how many other people are affected.”
Dresser didn’t waste any time in responding.
“If we have special rules for marijuana then what’s next,” he said. “People are bringing this on themselves. People who get carried away with growing too much – it’s illegal. You’re not going to argue that. It’s just a shame that we down to something like this – that we’re trying to define something so closely.”
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.