Tough restrictions on marijuana will remain on the books in Chico following a close vote by the City Council Tuesday night.
The move more or less preserves existing restrictions while complying with a statewide proposition that legalized recreational marijuana for adults. That law gives local jurisdictions a free hand to pen their own rules.
The 4-3 vote came despite the pleas of a woman using it to manage chronic colitis pain. Charles Pierce, who described himself as a consultant helping growers navigate cannabis rules, cast doubt on the outcome.
“The politicians will not be able to put this genie back in the bottle,” Pierce said. “They will find that Chico is not an island and Northern California is awash in cannabis.”
City Councilman Mark Sorensen, however, said the city shouldn't experiment with easing access, doubting that new state regulatory bodies will protect residents.
“Just following the pattern in Sacramento, it's irrational to believe that they are going to be able to control this issue,” Sorensen said.
The new ordinance bans outdoor grows, prevents dispensaries, delivery services or any other marijuana-related business from operating and places rules and licensing fees on ordinary residents seeking to grow their own.
In other council action, a conceptual proposal consolidating homeless services was unanimously approved. It would relocate a day center to an area near the city's shelter. City staffers were also asked to work with homeless advocates on developing a proposal for a cluster of small dwelling units for the homeless connected to services, counseling and training.