By Eric Heinz
Mayor Bob Baker said during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting that he had changed his mind regarding the permitting of marijuana plants, should Prop. 64 pass. Baker said the value the plants have could make citizens targets of theft because the permits would be public record and anyone could search for people who have them.
“I did not understand how expensive marijuana is,” Baker said. “I thought it was a good tool for us to have, but I think the public safety of that overrules (the amendment).”
Last meeting, City Council approved a zoning amendment to require people who want to cultivate up to six plants to get a permit if they want to do so in San Clemente, but only if Prop. 64 passes. If it doesn’t, then the laws don’t go into effect and everything stays the same.
Marijuana sales, distribution and any other use is prohibited within San Clemente.
Baker said he still thinks marijuana will be a danger to the city and that traffic accidents and related incidents will increase.
“One of the things that I’d be concerned about is a regulatory scheme where someone says they’re growing for personal use and then you have a commercial increase, and what do we have except a warrant,” Councilman Tim Brown said.
In order to pass the zoning amendment before the election, the City Council will have to pass something different at its Oct. 18 or Nov. 1 meeting before the election.