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Lathrop City Council Agrees to Ban Marijuana Growing

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LATHROP --

Lathrop has become the latest community in the area to ban the growing of marijuana for any reason, despite the state legalization of medical marijuana.

State law allows medical pot patients or caregivers to grow a limited number of plants for medical use. But it also allows local jurisdictions to implement their own controls.

Lathrop officials say the ban on growing pot in Tracy and San Joaquin County put Lathrop at risk of attracting more marijuana growing for medical use and other wise.

Lathrop police told the city council that there are dozens of complaints a month about the odor of plants as well as robberies, illegal sales and various other crimes associated with growing pot.

“No marijuana here, in my opinion, would be less crime," said Lathrop homeowner Eugene Sevilla, who moved from the Bay Area to get his kids away from drug influences.

He said medical marijuana patients can get their marijuana from dispensaries in other cities that have a better capacity to regulate growing and selling of pot.

But Omar Ornelas, the only dissenting vote on the council, fears some patients can't travel or don't have transportation.

“I they can’t make that drive then they can’t have access to what is essentially their medicine, it causes them to suffer more," said Ornelas.

Ornelas was hoping the council would choose to allow the indoor growing of pot which would alleviate problems with neihgbors. Instead the council voted to approve a total ban on growing. Violating the new ordiance would be a misdemeanor, but would give police a tool they don't currently have when dealing with troublesome marijuana grows.

The council will formally approve the ordinance at its November meeting and it will take effect 30 days after the approval at the beginning of December.