H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Nov 6, 2013 8:47 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Growing concerns over backyard marijuana grow

City leaders are taking on medical marijuana grows in San Luis Obispo.

People living in one neighborhood are especially concerned because of a backyard grow.

Police say a home near downtown San Luis Obispo has a large medical marijuana grow in its backyard.

"Neighbors are very concerned and I would be too if I lived next door to what appears to be an entire orchard of marijuana plants," said San Luis Obispo City Council Member John Ashbaugh.

Some people who live in the neighborhood voiced their concerns at a recent city council meeting.
They said they could smell the home from blocks away and also worried about people looking to steal the pot finding their way into the wrong backyard.

"There were only eight of them but each one these plants looked like a good size dwarf fruit tree," said Council Member Ashbaugh.

"It is a lot of marijuana but with the state laws the way they are right now it is legal for the homeowner to possess that amount of marijuana in his yard," said San Luis Obispo Police Lt. John Bledsoe.

Legal, but concerning. He says the biggest problem is when plants are visible to the public.

"What we're concerned about is the types of activity that it will bring to the neighborhoods," said Bledsoe. "We're talking about suspicious behavior, maybe additional criminal behavior that comes into the neighborhoods."

I went to the home in question Wednesday.
They spoke to me on camera but asked to not be identified.

"I understand their concern and I honor that concern," said the resident. "You know when we started the garden outside it really got a lot bigger than we anticipated."

But that's something the grower says will change.

"In the future we're not going to grow out in the backyard because it just became too big," said the resident. "It was way too visible to neighbors and if that was something we wanted to do then we could choose to live in the country and create something different."

The resident harvested the plants and they are no longer in the backyard which I saw for myself today.

In May of last year the California Supreme Court gave cities the right to regulate access to medical marijuana.

The San Luis Obispo City Attorney is looking into writing an ordinance to regulate backyard grows within city limits.

San Luis Obispo City Council Member John Ashbaugh says the council will take up this debate in January.

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