Sacramento County supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to ban outdoor marijuana grow operations countywide, according to a report in the Sacramento Bee. The move comes in response to increasing public nuisance and safety concerns in the area.
While enforcement of marijuana cultivation ordinances has been difficult in the county in the past due to ambiguous federal and state laws, enforcement officers will work to uphold the new ordinance by issuing citations for infractions committed by Sacramento County growers, according to the Bee.
“The beginning of cultivation season is also the beginning of home invasion season,” Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones told local Fox affiliate KTXL. “You will hear of many home invasions and virtually all of them have to do with cultivation, transportation, or sales of marijuana.”
Sacramento Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Neves agrees with the sentiment. “It’s out of control,” said Neves. He added that in late summer, some county neighborhoods are saturated with the smell of freshly harvested marijuana, according to the Bee.
Medical marijuana advocates were quick to respond to the ban, imploring county supervisors to uphold the ability of patients who use the drug medically to grow indoor plants for personal use. Since marijuana dispensaries are illegal in the county, many advocates are worried that patients won’t have sufficient access to their medicine.
Marijuana dispensary worker Kimberly Cargile told KTXL: “How are they supposed to obtain and use cannabis if they can’t have dispensaries and they can’t grow it? They’re being put in unsafe situations, and [you] are putting them in unsafe situations.”
Still, even medical marijuana advocates agreed that the county should enforce the ordinance against large grow sites in the area. National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws spokesman Bob Bowerman said: “We agree with pretty much everything you said today.”
The new outdoor grow restrictions are set to take effect in mid-June, according to the Bee.