Growing marijuana is dangerous

Home invasions show need for the City Council to act

Mr. O’Brien is an independent electrical contractor. He lives in Chico.

I wish to register my strong complaint regarding the lack of regulation of medical-marijuana grows in the city of Chico.

On Halloween night, my neighbor’s house was the scene of a home-invasion robbery. A gun was pointed at the young man’s face as the thieves proceeded to rob him of his dried marijuana. This happened at 10:40 p.m. in the evening, when guests were leaving our home.

As evidenced by the crime in our neighborhood that night, marijuana growers as well as neighboring citizens are being placed in dangerous situations because of this unresolved problem. This was just one of several similar local home invasions in recent months.

(I know about this type of crime from personal experience. Six years ago, our son and his roommate were victims of a 5 a.m. home invasion in which both boys were shot. One received a life-threatening wound that left him paralyzed from the waist down. The post-traumatic stress that occurred for these boys was tremendous. A year later, we lost our son, partly from the post-traumatic-stress disorder that followed from that home invasion.)

I am furious that such a crime involving a gun took place so close to our home. My wife and I have complained to the Chico police for two years about the overwhelming smell of mature marijuana plants, as it causes her to have an extreme asthma condition.

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, we attended the City Council meeting along with two of our neighbors. We spoke out against marijuana grows. The City Council members seemed to be naïve, uneducated and either uninterested or reluctant to make the final decision about marijuana gardens in our city. Once again, the council sent this matter to the Internal Affairs Committee.

The Oct. 29 issue of the Chico News & Review carried an article about a new effort to form a cannabis collective. Having a safe place to distribute medical marijuana sounds terrific, but I have to wonder where it will be grown. Knowing how common home invasions are becoming, I have to ask: What would stop a collective from being a target as well?

In a perfect world, people would have safe and inexpensive access to medical marijuana, but that world does not exist! Backyard marijuana grows are dangerous to both the growers and the neighbors.