When the City of Lathrop took a closer look at allowing residents and businesses to grow medical marijuana in the community several years ago, they decided against it.
And ever since it has been against the city’s municipal code to grow any marijuana – indoor or outdoor – for any reason.
But in the wake of California voters approving a ballot initiative that makes possession and cultivation of marijuana legal in the state, the Lathrop City Council is being asked to revisit the item and bring the city’s existing ordinance in-line with California law.
That means that the prohibition against cultivation within Lathrop could cease to exist after the council makes a decision on Sept. 18.
“We’ve been working with Lathrop city staff and the City Attorney to come up with a way that we’re compliant with the new state law,” Lathrop Police Chief James Hood said. “Right now, you cannot grow any plants in Lathrop regardless of where they are grown, and the new law says that you can grow up to six plants as long as they’re grown either indoors or outside in a locked facility and we’re looking at bringing those recommended updates back to the council.”
According to Hood, the outright prohibition against growing medicinal pot hasn’t done much to stop the act of doing so throughout the community. Even with the outright ban, Hood says that his department routinely receives complaints from residents who are annoyed with neighbors who are growing marijuana and the smells that go along with it – investigating the complaints in-house when necessary, and forwarding the larger cases on to the San Joaquin Sherriff’s Department METRO Narcotics Task Force when it appears to either be a large growing operation or affiliated with any other type of crime.
Hood, who was a lieutenant at the time that the council last pondered marijuana and spoke out against any form of cultivation within the city limits, said that still believes that people are using rental properties as grow houses – in some cases completely gutting the interior and filling the house marijuana plants in varying stages of growth – that in some cases in other cities have been linked to organized crime syndicates extending into the Bay Area and beyond.
Those instances, he said, are always referred onto the task force for investigation, and are weeded out as quickly as possible.
Currently California’s regulations do not have provisions providing guidance on commercial businesses and the amount of marijuana they’re allowed to grow – or the method in which it must be grown – and Hood said that the team working on drafting the recommendations are taking that into consideration in preparation for the council as well. Thinking about all of the scenarios that legal marijuana may present themselves, he said is a “proactive” step towards ensuring that all avenues are investigated to create the least overall impact on the nearly 20,000 residents that call Lathrop Home.
The Lathrop City Council will discuss the changes on Monday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. at Lathrop City Hall – located at 390 Towne Centre Drive. A copy of the staff report prepared for the item will be posted on the City of Lathrop’s website – www.ci.lathrop.ca.us – by the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 15.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.