The Town of Crawford adopted an ordinance at its Jan. 3 meeting, updating its regulations regarding the cultivation and possession of marijuana within the town limits. It reflects changes last year in the state's laws regulating marijuana cultivation in residences.
The ordinance noted that the town has prohibited commercial recreational and medical marijuana sales and medical marijuana as well as facilities for the cultivation or manufacture of marijuana related products.
The Crawford ordinance details the various concerns of hazards and risks of using residential property for the cultivation of marijuana, creating a public hazard. Of concern is overburden of the home's electrical system, creating a fire hazard; possible water damage and mold; noxious smells and odors that impact others; retrofitting residents for large-scale cultivation sites often results in significant damage to the structure, and could negatively impact property values; and cultivation sites can serve as targets for criminal activity.
Because large-scale operations, as well as commercial sales, are prohibited, the ordinance focuses on personal use of marijuana, based on the provisions of state law. It is illegal for those under 21 to grow marijuana.
For those 21 and older, they may have no more than six marijuana plants, with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants. Growing must take place in an enclosed, locked space, is not conducted openly or publicly and is not made available for sale. The ordinance defines the enclosed space as bounded by at least four walls and a roof, with a locking mechanism. This applies to either inside the residence or outside on the property.
The ordinance also provides that a person over 21 can transfer one ounce or less of marijuana without remuneration to a person who is also 21 or older.
The consumption of marijuana cannot be conducted openly and in public, or in a manner that endangers others.
Another provision of the ordinance makes it unlawful for any group of three or more persons to collectively cultivate, possess, process or transport more than 12 marijuana plants on any property in the Town of Crawford.
Nearby residents can complain if the cultivation of marijuana causes dust, glare, heat, noise, noxious gasses, odor, smoke, traffic, vibration or other impacts.
Nuisance complaints are subject to injunction and abatement in an action in any "court of competent jurisdiction." The council discussed that this includes district court, and does not require the town to establish its own municipal court. The ordinance also provides that the town can recover all costs, including reasonable attorney fees, incurred in successful prosecution of a nuisance complaint.
Other penalties include a fine of not more than $999 or five days in jail, or both, per violation. Each day a violation of the provisions of the ordinance is deemed a separate offense.
The full text of the ordinance was published in the Jan. 10 issue of the Delta County Independent.