Marijuana ordinance heads to council Thursday |

Marijuana ordinance heads to council Thursday

Adam Jensen

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Medical marijuana advocates are getting organized ahead of a Thursday meeting where the South Lake Tahoe City Council could approve an ordinance regulating cultivation of the controversial plant.

The second reading of the city’s cultivation ordinance is scheduled for the consent agenda portion of Thursday’s meeting agenda, meaning it will only be discussed if a council member or person from the public requests it.

The City Council tentatively approved the growing regulations at a sparsely attended July 27 special meeting. Approval on Thursday would allow the regulations to take effect after 30 days.

The council meets starting at 9 a.m. at Lake Tahoe Airport, 1901 Airport Road.

Under the proposed ordinance, outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana would be banned, indoor cultivation would be limited to 50 square feet per residence and lighting would be restricted to 1200 watts.

The use of commercial property, extension cords and gas products like carbon dioxide and butane in the cultivation of medical marijuana would also be banned.

The proposed ordinance would require cultivation areas to be inspected by a building official, who “may require additional specific standards to meet the California Building Code and Fire Code, including, but not limited to, the installation of fire-suppression sprinklers.”

Renters would be required to obtain written permission from a property owner prior to growing medical marijuana. The permission would need to be notarized and filed with the police department, according to the proposed ordinance.

Growing medical marijuana in an industrial area would require a special use permit, and cultivation on parcels adjacent to schools or public parks would be prohibited, according to the proposed ordinance.

An unspecified application fee will also be required and qualified growers must have a materials storage, handling and disposal plan under the ordinance.

A violation of the law could result in a misdemeanor charge, a fine of $1,000, six months in county jail or both. Violators could also face civil action by the city, according to the proposed ordinance.

Medical marijuana advocate Shelly Arnold encouraged patients to attend a Wednesday night meeting at Tahoe Wellness Collective to organize public comments regarding the cultivation ordinance, as well as a proposed ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday at 3445 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, Arnold said.

Arnold said she supported regulating growing operations to keep them safe, but said the regulations should not impede growers ability to produce medical marijuana for qualified patients.

The South Lake Tahoe Planning Commission is expected to discuss a potential ban on dispensaries at a meeting Sept. 9, following direction from the City Council last month.

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