Next month, City Council members will make their final decision regarding Chico's medical marijuana ordinance. If approved, on August 5th, pot will be allowed to be grown and processed for medical use. But with this decision also comes concern. Chico Police Chief Mike Maloney says, "We're very aware as we do this of the level of criminality that's associated with medical marijuana.."
The proposed ordinance focuses mainly on how this decision will affect land use. Grows will be limited to 50 square feet, and if violated by size or excessive odor, city code enforcement officials may issue an administrative citation. However, if there is suspicion of possible criminal behavior, police will step in. "When we have any indication at all that there's criminality associated with a reported medicinal marijuana grow, we are going to have the police involved in that," Maloney says.
This may be a large scale failure to comply with the land use regulations or illegal sales of marijuana. And Chief Maloney says there are a few indicators that nearby residents may notice when a grow might be illegal. "There's people coming and going for very short periods of time, all hours of the day and night.. There's a lot of activity in the back yard.."
Chico Police are anticipating one of the most difficult parts of the ordinance if passed, will be how to deal with complaints from residents, when growers follow all the rules and regulations. Chief Maloney says, "People are going to call and expect us to do something and that we're going to mitigate the odor or concern.. In some cases we may be able to.. In some cases we won't be able to..."