Bishop Planning Commission to discuss marijuana cultivation, vaping ordinances

By Deb Murphy

The Bishop Planning Commission will have its plate full at its Tuesday meeting as it takes on marijuana cultivation and vaping ordinances with both public hearings and recommended ordinances on the agenda for the 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall.


While the city has ordinances against medical marijuana dispensaries, there are no regulations regarding cultivation. If Bishop chooses not to deal with cultivation, the state will with recently passed legislation.

During its November 9 meeting, City Council opted to go the self-regulation route. Council members had mixed suggestions as to how to deal with cultivation of a controlled substance that may be much less controlled if and/or when a state-wide initiative goes on the ballot next year.

Councilmember Joe Pecsi maintained that the federal government still lists pot as a Schedule 1 (the most addictive, most dangerous classification) drug and no city or state can pass laws to legalize it. This despite the fact the current administration has declined to pursue states where recreational or medicinal use of the drug is okay.

Councilmember Karen Schwartz was on the other end of the spectrum with a “what’s the harm of medical marijuana” stance.

The Planning Commissioners will be faced with a choice of possible ordinances: one that bans medical marijuana cultivation within the city limits and one that allows cultivation with a host of restrictions.

Those restrictions start with outdoor cultivation: a total ban. Indoor cultivation will be allowed by a patient or caregiver at least 18 years old in the residence, single-family units only, of that patient with a permit from the Bishop Chief of Police. If the residence is a rental, the grower needs written permission from the property owner.

The ordinance allows for cultivation in the home or in a separate enclosed, secure structure. No one under 18 can live in a home where pot is grown. If a separate structure is the growing area, it has to be under lock and key if someone under 18 lives in the residence. Grow-space cannot exceed 25 square feet; grow lights can’t exceed 1200 watts; the home has to basically function as a home; if a neighbor smells pot odors and complains, cultivation could be deemed a public nuisance. If growers need more than 25 square feet, there are more hoops to jump through.

The permitting process requires a list of names of everyone who lives on the premises, the name of the patient or caregiver, a copy of a valid medical recommendation or county-issued medical marijuana card and a signed consent form that allows inspection of the grow site with 24-hours’ notice.

The vaping, or e-cigarette, ordinance is a bit simpler. Existing ordinances that ban tobacco product use in city-owned property will be amended to include e-cigarettes.
The ordinance that restricts smoking/vaping retail businesses begins with “The City Council finds that smoking and vaping uses have been associated with increases in noise, loitering, odors, public nuisances and disturbances of the peace.”

Then the law goes on to add restrictions. No smoke/vape shops within 1,000 feet of a school or within 1,500 feet of another smoke/vape shop. In addition, no minors allowed, either to vape or work at the business, no liquor served and uniformed security guards if “deemed necessary by the Chief of Police. The shop has to be well-lit, well-ventilated and the interior visible from the outside. The permit applicant has to provide the name and additional information on all employees.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., Tuesday in the Council Chambers at Bishop City Hall.

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6 Responses to Bishop Planning Commission to discuss marijuana cultivation, vaping ordinances

  1. Humanrights December 18, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

    Same old story. So paranoid to lose control of a non existent grow problem. C’mon its little bishop…….the few growing for their own is not a problem….yet they are bent on creating one. Don’t fear. What they fail to realize,oddly with attorneys,is that their minimums can’t dip below the states. 100 square feet per patient. Period.even with this BS rush for proposals to bombard the state.
    Lawsuits will erupt, paranoia will continue, and yes…..policies will change. Trust, yes that is the issue isn’t it?? Chief of police???? That us laughable at best. Wait until applicants sue for discrimination in their permitting process. Are they really ready to deal with an onslaught of patients??? Or are patients really even a concern to them??? My guess is, the head burying has to stop so in light of the lack of fact based education, they will attempt to sweep the problem away with heartless overintensive regulation, regardless of its impact to the patients. Only to their opinions will they be trustworthy

  2. weed-roller December 1, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    Weed, and a battery operated pretend smoking
    device, when exhaled releases the toxin known as…………Vapor. The trying issues of our time.

    Weed! A schedule 1 class narcotic (HIGHLY ADDICTIVE). really? Lol!
    @trouble is right. They do sound like my mother in-law.
    BTW how’s that Warren st. Facelift working out?

  3. sugarmagnolia December 1, 2015 at 11:35 am #

    For the record, I hate smoking, cigarettes and vaping. I think people who do it are by definition stupid (ie. purposefully taking up an expensive habit that will destroy their body)

    That said, the restrictions in the proposed ordinance are asinine. Why in the world would a vape shop need an uniformed security guard? And at the whim of the police chief??? Uniformed security guards aren’t required at bars, where by and large most of our late night violence occurs from people who have too much to drink, so why would they be required at a vape shop?

    The ordinance seems to be a thinly veiled attempt to make the business miserable for customers and too costly to run for the owner.

    As far as the marijuana ordinances, they seem intent on keeping the illicit trade going strong. Nobody will trust the chief of police enough to get a permit from him. I think we can all agree, the Bishop Chief of Police has not earned the level of trust that the council seems to think he deserves. Putting that much power in the hands of one person in a good old boy town is unbelievable.

    What other choices does the Planning Commission have? Can they send these options back to the drawing board?

  4. Jeremiah Joseph December 1, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    Right on council member Karen!
    I just hope common sense is brought to the table during this discussion, forget the propaganda and accept the state of affairs while cutting your losses, but of course if it’ll make money or feed into a powerful entities economic revenue then minds would definitely be changed….

  5. banit December 1, 2015 at 9:51 am #

    Personally I think that kids and degenerates will always find ways to get away with things. Vaping is just another way to do drugs under the do u know what a person is in hailing in these things or beter yet what kind of junk is in the huge cloud of smoke. They smoke clouds are much larger than a traditional cigarette. It appears that these users do so as too be gross on purpose . I have yet to see a Decent or respectable looking person use these things in public. I’m sure there are a few out there. The world is a cleaner and healthier place now that there are less cigarettes in public. I want myself and others to live a long healthy life. Smoke whatever u like in ur own home.

  6. Trouble November 30, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    Our city council sounds just like my mother inlaw.


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