The Madera Tribune

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‘Letter’ of the law vs. ‘spirit’

December 6, 2017

You’ve heard the terms “letter of the law” and “spirit of the law,” and we are about to see those terms hauled out and tested.

The City Council will vote, and most likely pass, an ordinance Wednesday night that will allow the cultivation of marijuana in Madera within strict limits required by Proposition 64, passed by the voters in 2016.

If one wants to, under the letter of the law, one will be able to grow six plants. These plants must be grown indoors, out of public view and out of the reach of juveniles. The growing area must be carefully ventilated to prevent the escape of any fumes from the growing. A permit to grow must be obtained from the city, and must be displayed in the house.

All well and good, as far as the letter of the law is concerned.

But a lot of people — some not-too-bright people, to be sure — believe that Prop. 64 has made marijuana legal to grow alongside the dahlias and tomatoes in the back yard.

And that’s where many of those will try to grow them. As they do now, only with less concern over being caught.

The requirements of the letter of the law will be seen as too strict. And after all, didn’t Prop. 64 mean to loosen the restrictions?

Never mind that marijuana is not proving to be the safe “herb” that its backers claim it is.

Here’s another term: Give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a mile.

After all, the present marijuana laws haven’t kept determined people from growing the stuff. Some say it’s the most valuable crop grown in the San Joaquin Valley— more valuable than timber in the forests, than almonds, or grapes — you name it.

We should applaud the City Council for trying to keep the marijuana genie in its bottle, even though the voters seemed to want to open that bottle and throw the cork away.

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