- Associated Press - Saturday, May 16, 2015

CLEARLAKE, Calif. (AP) - A small Northern California city has lifted its short-lived ban on marijuana cultivation after critics filed a lawsuit and collected enough signatures to challenge the prohibition with a ballot measure.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported Saturday (https://tinyurl.com/pnoe4d7 ) that the Clearlake City Council last week rescinded the ban enacted in February.

Only two cities - Fresno and Live Oak - and the county of Fresno have complete marijuana cultivation bans in California. The Clearlake council replaced the ban by revising a previous ordinance allowing for residents to grow between six and 12 pot plants depending on parcel size. The revised ordinance makes it easier for police to enforce the plant limits. The ban was put in place after police complained of too many residents exceeding the plant limit.

“We’re extremely happy,” said Jeri Spittler, a former city councilwoman and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Spittler said the lawsuit will now be dropped.

The city council enacted the ban after residents complained about the skunky smell and told police they were worried about home-invasion robberies and other crime. But marijuana proponents argued that a complete ban was unfair to patients who rely on marijuana to treat their ailments.

City officials said the previous ordinance allowing for small grows lacked clarity and enforcement tools. The new ordinance adopted in place of the ban seeks to clarify the plant limits and arms police with enforcement power.

Clearlake is about 110 miles north of San Francisco.


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