City-Level Marijuana Laws: Making Us Safer or Blocking Access?

State law in California now says that if you are over the age of 21, you have the right to grow up to six cannabis plans for your own personal use. The law also extends to cities and/ or counties the right to impose reasonable regulation on this homegrown marijuana provision. marijuana

These two rules were both part of Proposition 64, the state’s new legalized marijuana law. However, they conflict with each other and have become something of a battleground in some cities. In the three months since the law took effect, a number of cities home implemented rules for residential growing of the plant. But these rules are testing the boundaries of what may be deemed “reasonable” in terms of regulations.

Cities are citing concerns about safety in their provisions that prohibit marijuana gardens outdoors. Others require costly permits if people want to grow the plant. There are even a few cities that have outright banned the practice. 

In the city of Montebello, just outside L.A., those who want to cultivate cannabis for personal use are only allowed to do so if they don’t owe any taxes. They also must agree to allow workers from the city to occasionally inspect their property.

In the city of Indian Wells, which is just outside Palm Springs, those who want to grow the drug at home have to pay for – and pass – a background check that proves they haven’t been convicted of any felony drug-related offense (including one that involves marijuana) at any point in the last five years. In addition to this, the city has crafted a series of guidelines on which specific rooms can be used – and which cannot – for growing the marijuana.

In Fontana, located in the Inland Empire, renters must obtain approval from their landlord – and this approval has to be notarized – before they are allowed to begin growing the plant inside their rental unit. On top of that, they’re going to have to pay a permit fee of over $400.

Many marijuana users are arguing this kind of regulation is clearly an overreach. Of course, our L.A. marijuana lawyers know part of the problem is that Prop. 64 is very vague. But this was done intentionally, with the express purpose of giving local governments the right to dictate what’s acceptable in their community. This was partially a compromise to keep the support of those who supported marijuana legal reform, while also quelling the opposition of cities and other government agencies that were staunchly opposed to legalizing the drug. The only cut-and-dried rule in the law is that cities can’t outright ban the provision that allows residents to grow the drug on their own. But apparently what they can do – or at least, are trying to do – is to make it so cumbersome for individuals to do so (huge fees, excessive regulation, etc.) that it in effect becomes a “de facto ban.”

There is concern about the fact that engaging in a privilege offered by the state comes with the cost of personal privacy.

The strong likelihood is that these questions of “reasonableness” will be weighed by courts across the state for many years to come.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:

Are cities’ new marijuana laws about safety, or blocking Proposition 64? Feb. 11, 2017, By Brooke Edwards Staggs, Orange County Register

More Blog Entries:

Report: Colorado Marijuana Laws May Not be Safe, Feb. 5, 2017, L.A. Marijuana Lawyer Blog