The Biggs compromise

Town’s medi-pot solution merits consideration

We sympathize with local public officials who are struggling to accommodate medical marijuana. They’ve been given the difficult job of implementing an initiative that is profoundly flawed and vulnerable to abuse.

Last week, the county Board of Supervisors, following a contentious public hearing in Chico, voted preliminarily to allow medical-marijuana cultivation in varying amounts, depending on parcel size, in acknowledgement of the needs of legitimate medical-marijuana patients. But they also prohibited it on parcels smaller than a half-acre, in deference to neighboring property owners concerned about smells, loss of property values and vulnerability to thieves.

That’s an understandable compromise, but it potentially excludes many legitimate users from growing their own. The supervisors didn’t have to look far for a better compromise—just to the city of Biggs, which allows outdoor cultivation on small parcels as long as it is contained in a lockable structure such as a greenhouse.

Such structures hide the marijuana, contain its smell and discourage thieves, and they’re not expensive to build. Biggs officials say their ordinance has been problem free. The supervisors should consider something similar when it discusses the ordinance again May 24.