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With Passage of Prop 64, Galt Reconsiders Strict Marijuana Policies

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GALT -- The city of Galt has had one of the strictest marijuana policies in the state. No cultivation. No dispensaries. Not even for medical marijuana. That is, until Proposition 64.

In November, California voters passed the law, which allows for recreational marijuana use. The law forced Galt city leaders to hold a meeting to reconsider the city's rules on pot.

Under the new law, the maximum legal amount anyone can carry is one ounce. Inside a home, six plants are allowed. Now, Galt has to figure out how to regulate personal, medical and commercial use of marijuana.

"Do they want to allow an outright cultivation? Do they want to establish a permitting process? And also, there is an approach to outdoor cultivation, as well," Galt City Attorney Steve Rudolph said.

If the council did nothing in addition to the new state law, that means people can grow up to six plants indoors but outdoor would not be regulated. That is where people had different opinions.

"You want me to put it in a pot, buy fertilizer, put it in a pot, put some kind of light on top of it. That's thousands of dollars that I have to spend for something that I can just take and plant in the ground, just like corn," Galt resident Rory Chapman said.

"The smell is horrible. It is a nuisance," Galt City Councilwoman Paige Lampson said.

"You have to think about your neighbors as well. This is not an urban area," Galt City Councilman Mark Crews said.

City staff recommended council to pass an ordinance to create a permit process for indoor grows, but some council members thought that was an invasion of privacy.

"We're wanting to go in, and basically take away the rights of people. We don't regulate how many guns people have in their home, if they're locked," Galt City Councilwoman Lori Heuer said.

With so many questions and concerns, the council went ahead with a 45-day moratorium on all issues related to marijuana, admitting they still want more information, and weigh the pros and cons of Proposition 64.

"We're really just in a learning mode. We need to learn from our constituents, what is best suited for this community," Rudolph said.

The council will come back on Jan. 17 to hear more public comments.

The council also has the option to extend the moratorium for an additional 10 months, a possible move they might consider as it will give them more time to see how other cities and the state deal with the new law.