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Rocklin wants to regulate marijuana

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Even though Prop 19, the legalization of recreational marijuana use, failed to pass Tuesday, the city of Rocklin is moving ahead with plans to regulate its cultivation within city limits. “I think it’s a good idea,“ Rocklin resident Jill Fellows said. “I think they should regulate it.” Without discussion, the Rocklin City Council unanimously voted last Tuesday to direct city staff to come up with new zoning rules to better address complaints to code enforcement regarding the growing of medical marijuana. According to city documents, officials think it is important to regulate the cultivation of the marijuana due to incidents where residents are openly growing the plants and in some cases allowing them to overhang property lines and fences. Reportedly, the smell of the plants and the accessibility to the general public is unacceptable. Obvious clusters of outdoor plants have been targeted for theft with escalated incidents where growers have taken extreme, dangerous and defensive measures to protect their crop putting the code enforcement, police officers and the public are at risk, according to the city. Not everybody is happy about the controversial decision. Sierra College Professor Bright Rope said new rules could be questionable. “It’s interesting that it would it come up as a discussion item to regulate something that is illegal,” Rope said. “Do you really want to regulate it?” Rope admits he’s grown his own marijuana and even had it stolen from his backyard and doesn’t see the problem. “I’ve grown marijuana in the wild,” Rope said. “Why doesn’t this fall under weed abatement?” Rope said the city doesn’t understand the issue. “Most of the plants today are grown (inside) – hydroponically. There are no seeds being planted,” Rope said. Police Chief Mark Siemens said his officers need help dealing with indoor growing operations as well. Siemens said there’s been in excess of 20 incidents in the last year and four locations involved search warrants that were legally challenged. “Prop 215 caused us more trouble to try to interpret what is legal,” Siemens said. Siemens said he wants his officers to be able to do their job effectively. “What do our zoning laws need to say to stop these large growing operations?” Siemens said. Rope believes it’s just another opportunity to be big brother in an already over-regulated community. Right now, city code prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries from operating in Rocklin, Siemens said. City council members refused to comment on potential rules until the matter is ready for discussion at an upcoming city council meeting. At that time, the public will be allowed to comment as well.