City of Chico limits recreational marijuana use


Photo credit: Franky Renteria

Cities are limiting access to marijuana even though it legalized for recreational use in California.

The extent of regulation is determined by city councils and can vary from city to city, and county to county.

However, possession of marijuana on Chico State’s campus will still result in arrest.

Proposition 64 passed in November with 57 percent of the vote, and it permits people 21 and over to grow marijuana in their home and possess less than one ounce on their person, even in public. However, acquisition of pot is still strictly regulated.

Under state law, someone can receive less than 1 ounce of marijuana from a friend or someone they know with a medical marijuana card. But buying from someone, with or without a card is still illegal. Basically, the stuff is only OK to obtain if it is purchased or gifted by someone with a card.

“The delivery dispensary has to check to make sure that the card is valid, and if everything checks out, we make them sign an agreement form saying whatever they are purchasing is for themselves and they are forbidden by law to resell the stuff,” said Devhan Johnson, a local dispensary delivery driver.

This means that without a card there is no way someone is walking into a dispensary and buying marijuana products.

This rule isn’t likely to change in Chico anytime soon, according to Chico City Council member Randall Stone.

On March 7, the Chico City Council voted to regulate commercial marijuana use within city limits.

The motion passed 4-3 with Republican Council Members ruling in favor of banning the selling of marijuana to non-medical patients by dispensaries.

This issue is expected to be revisited by the City Council early May.

Mayor Sean Morgan declined to comment on his vote and the expected discussion of the issue in May.

Vice Mayor Reanette Filmer could not be reached for comment.

City, state and federal marijuana laws

While marijuana is now legalized in eight states, it remains illegal at the federal level.

The laws change again at the county and city level. Each determines how to regulate the use and production of marijuana.

The city follows the laws that the state has in place and they can choose to be less or more lenient within its restrictions, Council Member Stone said.

“Regarding Proposition 64, local municipalities have the right to designate their own police power, which is actually a reference to zoning laws, to regulate where and when type of questions for legal marijuana sales and growth,” Stone said.

“Chico does not permit marijuana sales to take place within the city limits. I don’t believe the County of Butte does either,” Stone said. “Grows can be limited but only within the confines of the rights prescribed in the state law under Proposition 64.”

Regulation of marijuana in the City of Chico

– Companies can still fire employees for failing a marijuana drug test, even if they weren’t high on the job.

– Renters of property can only smoke or grow in the residence if the landlord gives the tenant permission. (Yes, this applies to Chico rental companies.)

– Medical marijuana owners forfeit their second amendment right to own a gun.

– A maximum of five marijuana plants can be grown in a homeowner’s residence, but only indoors.

Although some landlords may be laissez-faire with tenants smoking on their rented property, Chico State campus and residence halls remain a strictly non-smoking area.

“It is probably worth mentioning that the CSU system is a state function and even has its own police force,” Stone said.

“So we have a small state island surrounded by the charter City of Chico which is also surrounded by the County of Butte which is of course surrounded by the State of California.”

University Police Chief John Feeney said a students caught smoking in residence halls will still result in eviction from University Housing.

“Nothing has changed on campus since marijuana was legalized,” he said. “Smoking on campus is still a crime and a Student Judicial Affairs referral and violation.”

Nicole Henson can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.