A law California voters approved in November 2016 allows state residents to grow up to six marijuana plants for recreational use, but Fremont residents wishing to do just that under Proposition 64 will find things a little more complicated.
Besides having to comply with several local regulations, they’ll also need to add their names and addresses to a police database every year.[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section” curated_ids=””]And while Prop. 64 says pot plants must be grown “within the person’s private residence, or upon the grounds of that private residence,” such as inside an outdoor garden area, Fremont has banned growing them outside, period. It can do that because Prop. 64 allows local jurisdictions to prohibit outdoor growing and to enact “reasonable regulations” around personal cultivation.
Plus, where the state also requires plants to be grown “in a locked space” so they “are not visible…from a public place,” Fremont’s municipal code — updated in June by unanimous City Council vote — places further restrictions on the growing space.
Whether inside the home, an attached garage or an accessory building, the structure where marijuana plants are grown must be “secure, locked, and fully enclosed, with a ceiling, roof or top, and shall be entirely opaque from all sides, including the top,” according to the city’s code.
Also, any such structure would need to be equipped with “a fully permitted burglar alarm monitored by an alarm company or private security company,” which could make growing plants for personal use somewhat expensive.
Fremont Deputy City Attorney Erik Kaeding said in an interview the additional restrictions are intended for the safety of residents.
“If the state’s going to require us to allow indoor grows, we feel this is what we need to do to protect our citizens,” he said. He added that police department input and experiences “definitely influenced” the way the codes were written.
“We’ve had crime in our city, we’ve seen crime in neighboring cities where there are indoor grows, and other people know about them and burglarize them, and it’s often not pretty,” he said.
“There’s nothing in (the code) that’s not based on our experience,” Kaeding said. “We’re aware of what health and safety concerns can arise related to marijuana growth, and this is all directed at addressing those concerns.”
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Fremont police spokeswoman Geneva Bosques said the department plans to add a new section to its Web page where residents must register annually if they want to grow marijuana plants at their residence.
She said the new page is still being finalized and should go live before the start of the new year.
Those registering “will either have to show proof of residency if they own a home, and if they are not the homeowner they will have to show proof of notification to a property owner,” Bosques said.
The registration form will also ask residents to verify they are 21 or older — the state’s legal age for growing plants or possessing marijuana — and provide contact information.
“We’re not really sure what to expect,” Bosques said, referring to the number of registrations the Web site may receive. She said out of concern for “safety and privacy,” the database of residences registered with the city will not be shared outside the department.
While Fremont’s code allows the City Council to set a fee for registration, Bosques said there isn’t one yet.
City codes also require marijuana growers to comply with other rules, such as one prohibiting more than 1,200 watts of lighting from being used to grow plants and another limiting the growing area to 32 square feet, with plants no higher than 10 feet.
Growers also would potentially have to install adequate ventilation and filtration systems, meet a list of standard building and fire codes, and comply with chemical storage and use regulations.
Fremont has banned all marijuana businesses in the city since 2006. In January 2016, before the passage of Prop. 64, the council unanimously voted to prohibit all cultivation and commercial delivery of marijuana within city limits.
You can view the full text of Fremont’s marijuana regulations here.
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