Council votes to allow indoor cultivation of marijuana, within limits


By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

The West Sacramento City Council voted 4-0 last week to allow cultivation of marijuana within city limits – but only in certain places, by certain people and in limited spaces.

Marijuana cultivation remains illegal under federal law.

The new city rules are meant to reconcile the state “Compassionate Use Act,” which allows people to use marijuana for medical purposes, with the rights of their neighbors. City staff say that outdoor marijuana cultivation attracts crime, for example, and generates an unwelcome odor from the plants.

In late 2012, the city placed a moratorium on outdoor cultivation of the plant.

Last week, the council approved new rules that continue to prohibit outdoor growth. The rules also require a city permit to grow marijuana. They restrict cultivation to people who live on their own residential property, allow it to be grown on up to 120 square feet of indoor space. Growing is prohibited within 600 feet of schools or child care centers.

The city planning commission recommended that distance be increased to 1,000 feet, but the city council did not adopt that recommendation. Staff said a 1,000-foot buffer “could essentially result in a de facto ban.”

Those wanting to grow marijuana will have to present medical documentation to get a permit.

One member of the public spoke out against the rules, saying, “In my opinion, (marijuana) is a forerunner to something much worse. I’m against seeing it even get started in our community.”

CITY COUNCILMAN OSCAR VILLEGAS said West Sacramento has carefully studied the issue before acting. (News-Ledger file photo)

CITY COUNCILMAN OSCAR VILLEGAS said West Sacramento has carefully studied the issue before acting. (News-Ledger file photo)

Councilman Oscar Villegas commented on the proposed rules:

“It’s not as if we’re acting like cowboys here. We’ve been very methodical and thoughtful.”

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon joined council members Oscar Villegas, Mark Johannessen and Bill Kristoff in supporting the new rules. A final reading of the ordinance is scheduled for the Feb. 5 city council meeting.

Marijuana dispensaries are still outlawed in the city.


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