What this means for the city, residents
Talk of legalizing outdoor cannabis cultivation has been lingering in the air, and the Davis City Council finally approved it with a unanimous vote of 5-0 at the council’s April 4 meeting. This enables residents to grow up to six plants outdoors, as long as it does not surpass the height of their fence or 6 feet, whichever is lower. Within the next few months, the city will undergo another set of ordinances to discuss the other issues such as if medical or adult retail sales will be allowed. The three phases that will be dealt with include the growing of cannabis, all commercial elements that are not retail, such as product development, and retail outlets.
“I think that I’m in support of the council’s move here –– the council has been very diligent in its effort of data collection and community outreach, ensuring that it reflects the needs of the community while understanding the complexities of the policies themselves,” said Eric Gudz, the chair on the board of directors for the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). “Specifically, I was very very impressed and happy to see the ordinance had utilized marijuana but the new one replaced the word with cannabis, understanding how the term marijuana is a very contentious term and is conceded with racial undertones from the war on drugs in the ‘30s.”
Gudz works with the SSDP to fight the “war on drugs,” in which there are discussions on how to change peoples’ outlook on drug policies and the way in which they frame the discussions pertaining to it. In many cases, cannabis and other drug policies are seen as statements of criminality, in which criminal sanctions would be imposed on students who overdosed calling for help, rather than being sent through the public health and safety education route to receive the proper care they need.
“It begins to change those conversations and focus in on the core of drug policy –– these are issues of public drug policy, these are issues of addiction –– the roots of the problems are not at the drugs themselves; really understanding the depth of that is what we do,” Gudz said.
As for the how outdoor cannabis cultivation will affect the residents, city councilmember Rochelle Swanson doesn’t predict many repercussions.
“I expect little to no impact on the residents,” Swanson said. “Typically, neighbors aren’t even aware that other neighbors that are growing. And, for the economy, that is honestly unknown. We of course will be collecting sales tax –– there probably won’t be sales tax on medicinal, but there will be business licenses so there will be licenses. We’ve only regulated a small amount of it. We’re working with people who have a history on this so that we do the very best by our community, that’s really important.”
Since this is the first time the City of Davis will encounter such an allowance of cannabis, it will have to be regulated and accommodated to fit the needs of the city.
“It’s hard to tell [how cannabis will affect the city], what we’ve said is that this is a new era––no one has been in a situation where scheduled drug prohibited substance has gone past prohibition,” Mayor Robb Davis said. “We’re in the process of having our police go and give us info on a regular basis on complaints and our clients. There doesn’t appear to be an increase in clients, but we’ll adjust as necessary.”
The allowance of outdoor cannabis cultivation has been disputed and discussed for quite some time, with many making the argument that growing cannabis will enable its misuse or cause problems for the community. However, rules and regulations have been set forth, and additional meetings and ordinances will take place as well to ensure that safety is maintained. The city will take the necessary measures in order to make certain the best possible outcomes for its residents.
“Overall, I think it’s going to have a direction that it gives the greater community –– a more upfront introduction to cannabis that frankly is already been existing in the community for a long time,” Gudz said. “This is sort of the next step in that policy that we’re seeing across the state. One of the big things is looking at ensuring that social justice remains a cornerstone of those discussions. We orient these policies around social policies and ideals. The war on drugs has impacted permanently scores of communities across the globe.”
Written by: Kaelyn Tuermer-Lee — firstname.lastname@example.org