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The Madera Tribune

Wednesday will be big night at council

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webmaster | 04/17/12

Wednesday night’s City Council meeting will be more significant than usual. Two decisions that will affect the future of the city in major ways will be made.

One will be whether to adopt an ordinance that will severely restrict how medical marijuana may be grown in the city. As you may know, cultivating marijuana for one’s own medicinal use, providing one has a doctor’s written recommendation, is legal in California (although not in the United States, which means that California is snubbing its nose at federal law, or has decided to secede). You only can produce for your own use. You may, however, join with others to produce in bulk as long as the total production doesn’t exceed what each member of such a cooperative is allowed to use.

As you might imagine, the latter provision is often abused, with marijuana being produced in bulk amounts difficult to trace back to the co-op members whose permission cards are involved.

The Madera County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance earlier this year which would allow no card holder to cultivate an area more than 10 feet by 12 feet. If the area is outside, it must be hidden behind fences; otherwise, it must be inside a building.

The city’s new ordinance will be similar to the county’s except growing areas will be restricted to 10 feet by 10 feet (unless changed) and all must be indoors (unless changed).

Naturally, the people who grow marijuana legally largely disagree with these ordinances. Those who grow it illegally probably won’t care.

The second city action will end a long-term relationship with the Madera County Landfill and appoint a garbage hauler who will guarantee to put more of the city’s waste into recycling and composting.

That decision, which should save the city’s ratepayers many hundreds of thousands of dollars over 10 years, is a step in the right direction.

There is also a third decision being made — to lower the wages of certain “at will” employees of the city for budget purposes. These include the city attorney and the city clerk. Others already have taken hits. This is an indication that the city’s economy remains in the doldrums.


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