The City Council on Tuesday, June 5, voted 5-0 to update its municipal code to make growing pot an unacceptable use of property, even if the holder has a medical marijuana card, according to Assistant City Attorney Bill Sartor.
“A medical marijuana card would provide no defense” when it comes to code enforcement, he said.
Under the amended statute, city code enforcement may issue abatement notices to anyone found growing medical marijuana.
If people follow through with the abatement appeal process, said code enforcement head Ana Contreras, the process could take quite some time. Contreras did not give a direct answer, however, about how long the timeframe might be in that circumstance.
Police Chief Gary Hampton favored the vote, which followed a Nov. 15 council discussion about the disruptive force growers can be in their neighborhoods. At that meeting, Hampton told the council it was his experience that even state-legal grow operations attract crime — especially other people trying to steal the cultivated pot.
It remains illegal to grow marijuana for any purpose under federal law.
Sartor added the state Legislature has recently considered and failed to pass a bill that would prevent California cities from outlawing the cultivation of medical marijuana.
The council also unanimously approved a change to the municipal code so the city can accept a sign from several Tracy service clubs.
The sign — paid for by the Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis and Soroptimist clubs in town — would welcome motorists driving east on 11th Street near Tracy’s western entrance. Senior planner Victoria Lombardo said an exact location hasn’t yet been determined.
Lombardo added that the language approved by the council would allow similar signs to be posted at other entrances to the city, in case other service organizations also wish to display their shingles.