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Personal Marijuana Cultivation Discussed

With the approval of California Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative that was on the Nov. 8, 2016 ballot, some concerns have been raised which led to an agenda item that the Riverbank City Council discussed at their meeting held on Feb. 14.

The City Council was asked to review information regarding Personal Indoor Marijuana Cultivation. Prop 64 allows adults age 21 and over to possess and use marijuana for recreational purposes. According to the Act, municipalities that ban cultivation or retail sales will not be eligible to receive certain tax revenues meant to enhance law enforcement, fire protection, or other public safety programs.

The city passed an ordinance in 2008 banning medical marijuana dispensaries within the city and in 2015 the city adopted an ordinance to prohibit the sale, cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana, with a limited exception for personal indoor cultivation.

Additional information on the agenda stated that under Prop 64, an individual is permitted to grow up to six (6) plants for recreational purposes within a private home, as long as the area is locked and not visible from a public place.

The city cannot stop personal growth and indoor use of marijuana however they can create a permit process to do so.

This agenda item was not held to a vote; however, it was discussed. The city council will be collaborating with their legal department on creating a comprehensive permit process and/or a conduct policy for Personal Indoor Marijuana Cultivation, city officials said.

The importance of a permit process, explained Mayor Richard O’Brien, is for the safety of the people in the community. There could be health and safety violations that the council wants to consider before making a determination on how to proceed.

The fees for the permits should recoup the costs of permitting and enforcement as stated on the agenda.

The direction for city staff will be given at a public hearing that is planned for a later date.