The Los Banos City Council is expected to vote Wednesday on an ordinance regulating recreational and medical marijuana, including banning cultivation outside of private residences.
California voters on Nov. 8 approved the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, legalizing recreational use for anyone 21 or older. The new law gives local governments significant authority to regulate use and cultivation, prompting the city to draft an ordinance.
The Los Banos Planning Commission unanimously approved recommending the ordinance to the City Council during a Nov. 9 meeting. The City Council, with the exception of Council Member Scott Silveira, recommended moving forward with the proposed ordinance after a public hearing Dec. 7.
Silveira objected with the registration requirement under the ordinance.
In addition to limits under the new state law, the proposal would prohibit smoking marijuana in places where smoking tobacco isn’t allowed.
Possession of, smoking or ingesting marijuana would also be prohibited within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center or youth center while children are present, with the exception of inside a private residence.
Possession of an open package of or use of marijuana would be prohibited while riding in a vehicle, boat, vessel or aircraft. Employers are empowered to hire and fire to maintain drug-free workplaces.
The ordinance also bans the sales of marijuana, which wouldn’t be allowed under state law until 2018 at the earliest. Senior Planner Stacy Souza Elms said the ban could be lifted in the future as the city takes a “wait-and-see” approach to examine how other California cities are addressing the new law.
Outdoor cultivation of marijuana and cultivation inside structures not deemed private residences would be banned under the ordinance. Indoor cultivation of up to six plants would be allowed in private homes for personal use only.
In order to grow marijuana at home, according to the ordinance, homeowners must register with the city. According to city staff, registration doesn’t require a fee and will allow authorities to educate residents on how to safely grow marijuana and avoid fire hazards.
Silveira said Tuesday he was still concerned with a public registry naming home growers potentially opening them up to shaming, harassment or violence. As the ordinance stands, Silveira said, he plans to vote against it Wednesday.
The City Council meeting Wednesday starts at 7 p.m. at Los Banos City Hall, 520 J St.
Vikaas Shanker: 209-826-3831, ext. 6562