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San Clemente marijuana ordinanceIf California passes an initiative to lift statewide bans on marijuana, San Clemente may try to hang onto some local controls enacted earlier this year.

City Council members will be asked Tuesday’s council meeting if they want to allow cultivation of up to six marijuana plants inside a home without regulation, if the statewide initiative passes in November, or if they want to require a permit for those six plants.

Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, would allow cities to go either way, City Planner Jim Pechous told the Planning Commission last week. The city could “reasonably regulate” the limited home cultivation authorized by Prop. 64, Pechous said.

Commissioners voted 5-2 to ask the City Council to require a permit.

“It creates a map for staff to understand where this is going on,” Mal Richardson, the commission’s legal counsel, said. It’s a way to track where plants are being grown – at least among people who come forward and apply for the permit, he said. He said code enforcers would need a warrant to enter a home to check on the number of plants.

Commissioners Wayne Eggleston and Michael Smith voted against the permit idea, preferring to allow up to six plants unregulated, as the voter initiative would allow if it passes.

“A person’s home is their castle as far as I’m concerned,” Eggleston said. “The permitting process inside someone’s dwelling like this, I think, is Orwellian. Governments should not be inside your home except for building and safety issues. It’s really government overreach to the nth degree when someone can tell you what you can and cannot grow inside your own home.”

Smith called it invasion of privacy.

Commissioner Jason Talley disagreed. “If I want to change something in my house, I have to receive a permit from the city in order to do that,” he said, “and my home is not my castle in that respect. I submit to the jurisdiction of the city to make sure that I build something in at least a manner that experts have determined presents the best probability for my safety. We’re talking about somebody being able to farm inside a house. Maybe we should adopt a cautious approach to that.”

The city is proposing to enact the permit requirement before Nov. 8 elections to have it in place if the initiative passes.

“If we find we don’t need to control it, we can certainly rescind it,” Commissioner Barton Crandall said. “I think it’s the safe way to go and can be turned around much easier than not going (forward) and trying to turn it around later.”

Eggleston said it’s unenforceable and the city shouldn’t even go there.

On Tuesday the City Council will invite comment by holding a public hearing.

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