The outdoor growing of medical marijuana has been banned for 45 days in Amador County, located in Northern California. While the ban is enacted, land use planners are working toward draft new regulations regarding crime, smell, and sanitation problems associated with the outdoor growing of medical marijuana.
He Ting Fu, a medical marijuana cultivator, was killed in late September during an attempted robbery of his marijuana garden. While the 5 suspects have been captured, this violent murder has sparked a sense of concern and a need for reform among residents and city officials.
The county’s planning director, Susan Grijalva, stated, “I think we have a pretty good handle on the concerns – the odor and the safety and the camping. When that happened (in September), it brought a broader public awareness to it.”
Concerns related to sanitation and odor relate most specifically to individuals who tend to marijuana gardens who camp out nearby and do not properly dispose of their waste. Smell complaints sometimes also refer to the skunky smell that marijuana can give off.
As a result of these safety concerns and complaints, the Amador County Board of Supervisors has voted unanimously to have county staff draft regulations to help lessen the impact that outdoor medical marijuana growing is having on those in the surrounding communities. In conjunction, the board also voted to ban the outdoor growing of medical marijuana for a 45 day period.
Grijalva hopes to bring a proposed ordinance in 2012 and to have new rules in place for outdoor growers before the growing season reconvenes in early spring. The intended ordinance may place stricter limitations on where medical marijuana gardens can be located in relations to schools, parks, or residential neighborhoods.
Other California communities, such as Fresno and Lassen counties, currently have similar bans on outdoor growing. Grijalva maintains that she has no intention of stopping legitimate medical marijuana patients from growing for their own use, but instead intends to more closely regulate individuals who are running large marijuana farming operations.