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Lathrop will revisit ban on pot growing
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Could the Lathrop City Council soon revisit its newly approved policy that effectively bans the growth of all marijuana within city limits?

Last month the council voted 4-1 to enact an ordinance that would make it a crime to cultivate any marijuana – medical or otherwise – anywhere within the city, but did so with only the opposition input of councilman Omar Ornelas who voted against the measure.

The only person in the audience who actually had a medical marijuana card issued by the State of California – which was made legal in the state when voters approved the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 but is not recognized by the Federal government – said that she was perfectly fine driving to Stockton to pick up the medication that she uses for a variety of ailments, and actually requested that the council ban indoor and outdoor growing operations because of the variety of problems that they cause.

But what about the person who can’t afford to pay store prices for a medication that may very well end up working better than traditional methods?

That’s exactly the plight that one local man pitched to the three-member council Monday night – Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal and Ornelas were not present – in an effort to get him to revisit the matter.

And it worked.

Vice Mayor Steve Dresser asked that the second reading of the ordinance be postponed until the council meets again later this month to allow the man to explain his position to all five members.

While going to a dispensary in a neighboring community might be possible for some, the man, who said that he grows plants for his wife who has lupus, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, only makes $14-an-hour and can’t afford to pay retail prices. The medication, he said, has allowed her to stop taking all of the opiate painkillers that she had previously been on to deal with the ailments.

Both police and residents have said that even with compassionate use laws in place, growing marijuana outdoors often has unwanted consequences – foul odors for those who may live nearby and a criminal element looking to rip off growers within their legal rights.