Police chief pitches plan for more pot

A new proposal from Healdsburg’s police chief could allow medical marijuana users there to double the size of their medicinal gardens from what is allowed by state law.

Under the new regulations, patients would be able to cultivate up to 12 mature plants and 24 immature ones.

Put forward by Police Chief Kevin Burke, the plan includes several caveats. The first: All plants must be grown indoors.

Aside from its potent smell, Burke said he is concerned about the safety of outdoor marijuana growers:

“Outdoor grows are vulnerable to theft from people of all ages, including minors.”

Further regulation would limit the ganja growing near schools, hospitals, parks, churches, youth centers and child care facilities.

And don’t be surprised if city officials show up at your casa to make sure your garden isn’t “overgrown” either.

So far, Burke’s proposal is receiving little pushback.

Mary Pat Jacobs, a spokesperson for Sonoma Alliance for Medical Marijuana, said indoor growing isn’t the most environmentally friendly; however, she understands the danger in airing one’s goods.

She told the Press Democrat:

“Patients will not be safe and their medicine will not be affordable until there’s regulation for all responsible adults.”

While Healdsburg police haven’t witnessed serious injuries or fatalities, they’ve investigated robberies, thefts and physical assaults related to marijuana cultivation.

But absent new laws, Burke said it’s only a matter of time before the crime escalates.

Last week, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended the City Council approve the new regulations. On June 3, the council is scheduled to consider the proposal.

If passed, Healdsburg will become the second city behind Sebastopol in Sonoma County to set regulations on growing the popular green medicine.