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California City to Charge Separate Violations Per Illegal Plant

Officials in Brentwood, California were fed up by the rise of home cultivation violations. They took action.

On July 12, the Brentwood City Council intensified the rules on the home cultivation of cannabis—taking the rules beyond the legal six-plant limit inside a personal residence. Administrative citations may be issued—per plant—for any plants that are grown beyond the legal limit.

With Vice Mayor Johnny Rodriguez absent, the Brentwood City Council voted 4-0 in favor of the measure.

The number of plants that a resident can grow in their home should not be underestimated. The first violation will result in a $100 citation, the second in $200, and the third, $500. This means that each plant is now considered an individual violation.

Roberta Portillo­Bienemann (Code Enforcement Supervisor) said the city saw an increase in cannabis cultivation offenses. These new regulations would provide code enforcement agents with additional tools for fighting illegal home cultivation. This will put a lot more pressure on those who might be tempted to ignore the rules.

Portillo Bienemann indicated that the average illegal grow operation has up to 10 violations. But, according to Portillo Biemann, new rules will add violations, depending upon the number of plants found by code enforcement.

Portillo Bienemann indicated that the City usually allows the Offender between five and seven days for appeals, but the city may issue fines per person, per day.

“In order to give an individual their due process, right, and their ability to appeal that citation, if they choose to do so, we issue the administrative fines on a weekly basis,” she told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “It is hoped these revisions will increase the city’s code enforcement capabilities and deter illegal marijuana cultivation.’’

But next door in Antioch, California, the police say there’s no actual problem taking place—at least not in their city.

Antioch Interim Police Chief Steve Ford said that in his city, they haven’t seen any grow houses in the last year, however at least one illegal warehouse grow operation was discovered months ago and punished by code enforcement.

“As crazy as it sounds, I’d like to think that that [the availability of dispensaries] has helped to mitigate the need for people to want to try and erect a weed house or weed grow because they don’t have to do that,” Ford told the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Brentwood has been regulating home cultivation since 2017 when it included California law in its municipal code. This was to comply with Proposition 64. The city leaders are most concerned about large-scale home cultivation. They say the crops can reach hundreds of thousands and pose safety and health risks.

Joel Bryant, Brentwood Mayor, said that he supports the new rules for home cultivation.

“Having seen some of these grow houses in our community, not only is there immediate danger to the neighboring houses of fire and there are health concerns from the mold, but there also have been some violent interactions from criminal activity,” Bryant stated. “Not only from the growers but people that are criminals that found out that that grow house was there.”

Councilwoman Susannah Meyer approved the measure, saying that the enhanced rules don’t impede anyone’s rights to consume cannabis.

Some residents agreed that there were more violations and said it was about property protection.

Assuming you’re staying within the legal limit in your respective city, and assuming your state allows it, Chronic NewsThese guidelines provide guidance and focus on how you can grow your own cannabis.