Pot rules warrant review

City Council should follow Planning Commission’s recommendation to not ban outdoor grows too hastily

As we get closer to the new year, the need to adopt regulations regarding the sale of marijuana becomes more immediate. We get that. But when the Chico City Council takes up the issue of marijuana regulation again on Tuesday (Oct. 17), we hope it takes the Planning Commission’s recommendations to heart.

Among the topics up for discussion are the ban of commercial marijuana in the city. That seems to be the will of the council and, provided it’s willing to reconsider the matter, a ban is something we can stomach (though we find it short-sighted). But the council should stop there.

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend requesting more information before implementing a ban on outdoor grows—which are currently allowed for medical marijuana. There simply is not enough data regarding energy use associated with indoor grows to move forward so hastily with that type of prohibition. We also aren’t convinced that moving gardens indoors will help with public safety. Show us the data and then we can discuss.

In addition, we agree with commission chair Toni Scott that the current permitting process—set up for indoor medical marijuana grows—is not user-friendly. The fact that not one person has applied for an indoor growing permit speaks volumes. It only seems appropriate to study the current process and why citizens aren’t applying—take, for instance, the provision that a permit holder’s home be subject to search by law enforcement or other personnel after a 72-hour notice. That’s enough to stop any reasonable citizen from applying.