A citizens’ committee has decided not to seek changes to medical marijuana rules enforced by the City of Shasta Lake.
The city’s Marijuana Collectives/Cultivation Committee voted Feb. 15 to leave the current ban on outdoor cultivation as is. Committee members opted against making changes after looking at other options and considering the likely impact new regulations would have on the county level.
Shasta Lake officials have taken progressively harsh steps over the last five years to restrict medical weed. First they outlawed dispensaries, then they restricted outdoor grows and finally they banned them altogether.
The meeting Feb. 15 was supposed to give the committee a chance to hear from the public and other city officials about the ban and its impact on the community.
“This is really an opportunity to take the pulse of the city and see what the citizens think about it,” Lori Chapman-Sisers, a city council member who also sits on the committee, said before the meeting. “This could result in absolutely nothing changing, or some recommendations (to the city council).”
Shasta County, located in far Northern California, has also banned outdoor cultivation. The county board of supervisors voted in January to prohibit all cultivation except indoor gardens of 12 or fewer plants.
Activists are working to overturn these bans, but they’re ultimately going to need a ruling by the California Supreme Court. Cultivation bans have become a new favorite for towns trying to wipe out MMJ.
The most severe of these laws prohibit all grows, indoors or out. When the City of Live Oak enacted such an ordinance in 2011, patient advocates sued – and lost.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeal, which covers Northern California, ruled that the 1996 law creating medical weed in the state didn’t give residents the right to smoke up. That meant municipalities may use almost any tools to restrict MMJ, including cultivation bans.
Advocates have appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court. The outcome of the case could determine the future of medical marijuana in California. If cities like Shasta Lake are allowed to impose ever-tighter restrictions on growing, and even to ban it altogether, the MMJ system itself may become untenable.
But Shasta Lake patients can take comfort in one fact: Unlike their fellow tokers in Live Oak and Fresno County, they can still grow inside.