The amendment to city code was indeed passed. But it was far from quiet.
Several young adults tarried as late as 11:40 p.m. as part of a last-ditch effort to convince the City Council not to forbid cultivating medical pot inside city limits.
One delivered a long speech suggesting the council’s pending action showed “a lack of imagination.” Another presented a respectful case from the perspective of a patient, caregiver and entrepreneur.
Yet another took the road less tactful, telling the council that no matter its decision, “We won’t stop growing it,” before storming out of the chambers.
The defiant one returned moments later, just long enough to deliver the line of the evening: “Go to hell, evil bastards!”
While it’s usually tough to sympathize with politicians, the man obviously didn’t grasp the intent behind the council’s unanimous decision.
Having sat through several discussions leading up to the final council vote, I think it’s pretty clear what the ban on growing doc-approved reefer is designed to do. And what it isn’t doing — which no doubt slipped past the enthusiastic speaker at the Tuesday council meeting — is putting the crosshairs on the guy growing six plants in a closet to ease the chronic fatigue of chemotherapy.
At least, it shouldn’t be.
I would hope that if you’re truly supplying for your own need as a California medical marijuana cardholder and don’t cause trouble for the neighbors, you won’t find cops and code enforcement at your door because of this tweak in city code.
On the other hand, if you’re cultivating a clutch of cannabis and find yourself the repeated target of thieves with guns and baseball bats, you should have something to worry about.
I see this ordinance being used to go after public nuisances — a charitable way to describe the people who stretch the state Compassionate Use Act to grow as many plants as possible, often attracting a criminal element in the process.
Tracy residents have shared horror stories of backyards habitually trekked through by armed individuals and groups looking for a free score from a local grow house. The homeowners are understandably enraged by the trespassing, and rightfully afraid of the potential hazard to life and limb.
If that weren’t enough to make this an issue worthy of council action, consider this: According to police — and my personal experience backs this up — if you’re growing enough pot to attract crime, you’ve probably got a surplus. And chances are you’re selling it for profit on the side.
Personally, I think marijuana should be legalized across the country and its cultivation and distribution regulated along the lines of alcohol. But that’s a different column.
What we’re discussing here is a set of growers who fail to realize — or possibly don’t care about — the negative impact they have on their community.
Either way, if the house in question is a menace to the neighborhood, Tracy’s code enforcement and police officers should have every tool at their disposal to declare a grow house a public nuisance and restore peace and quiet.
And it’s not like medicinal growers who get on the city’s radar will be thrown in the slammer. Medical marijuana is still legal in the state — any city action would be on the level of a municipal code violation only.
So to Tuesday’s yelling man: spare the ill-informed insults.
There’s no reason to bash the City Council for using the limited options at its disposal to try to nip this problem in the bud.
• Second Thoughts is a personal opinion column by Editor Jon Mendelson. Share your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.