The Ferndale City Council is working to enact restrictions on commercial cannabis activities, ban outdoor cultivation and require permits for indoor personal cultivation within city limits.
Last Wednesday, the council introduced and discussed an ordinance that would regulate recreational marijuana activities. It was not a first reading, just a discussion — ordinances and amendments are required to be read twice during separate public meetings with public comment periods before final approval and another 30 days before the law goes into effect, Ferndale City Manager Jay Parrish said Monday.
“We want to get something on the books,” he said in reference to the wording in Adult Use of Marijuana Act that allows local jurisdictions to pass laws to reasonably regulate recreational marijuana before New Year’s Day 2018 when state laws would apply if no locals laws were enacted.
Similar to what the Fortuna, Rio Dell, Trinidad and Blue Lake city councils are considering, this ordinance bans any commercial marijuana businesses or outdoor cultivation within city limits and would enforce a permitting process for people who want to grow six legal personal plants indoors, Parrish said. But this might not be the end of marijuana in Ferndale, he suggested.
“When the dust settles a little bit … we’ll have a better grasp of everything and we can change our ordinance any way we’d like,” Parrish said.
He said this approach might save the city from dealing with the possible boom and bust of the marijuana economy as the industry moves out of the black market.
Parrish said he believes the ordinance reflects the comments on marijuana he’s heard from Ferndale residents and the current city council members.
“I think it’s as protectionist as we can be,” he said.
This reporter reached out to additional Ferndale City Council members for comment but didn’t hear back by the Monday evening publishing deadline.
As written in the draft ordinance, personal and commercial outdoor cultivation is prohibited “in order to eliminate the potential nuisance and health and safety impacts to the greatest extent possible.” All commercial marijuana activity is prohibited for the same reason.
“No person or entity is permitted or authorized to engage in such activity within the city of Ferndale, regardless of whether or not such person or entity has applied for or obtained a permit from the state of California under the AUMA, the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, or other state law,” the ordinance reads.
Personal cannabis cultivation must be permitted by the city and can only occur indoors in a private residence or detached accessory structure but not both. The personal grows can’t exceed six plants, the plants can’t be over 10 feet tall and the grow space must not be over 50 square feet.
“The private residence or detached accessory structure where personal cultivation of marijuana occurs shall comply with all applicable state and city of Ferndale ordinances, including fire and building codes,” the ordinance reads.
The Ferndale City Council will hold a public study session on the proposed ordinance Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. in Ferndale City Hall at 834 Main St. The next regular city council meeting is scheduled for Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in Ferndale City Hall, when Parrish expects the first reading and public hearing of the ordinance to be held.
The full text of the proposed ordinance is available on ci.ferndale.ca.us.