Everything grows in Chino, but if you want to grow personal use marijuana in the city, you will have to grow it indoors.
Residents are limited to six plants.
Those specifications were part of an ordinance approved by the Chino city council Tuesday, following the passage of Proposition 64 last November by California voters, allowing recreational and medicinal marijuana use legally in the state.
Individual cities are allowed to decide what commercial activity is allowed in their jurisdiction.
While a city can’t prohibit legal marijuana delivery to travel through the city, it can prohibit marijuana businesses and the commercial cultivation of the plant in city limits.
Chino city attorney Fred Galante said the ordinance is on the conservative side, but not one of the most conservative policies.
“Anyone looking to establish a commercial marijuana business must secure a license from the state as well as the local jurisdiction,” Mr. Galante said. “They have to ensure the (city) authorizes the particular use before the state will issue a license. The cities are authorized to ban all commercial uses.”
The ordinance accepted by the Chino city council does just that, completely eliminating any sort of commercial marijuana activity in the city limits.
The state of California will issue 20 types of permits to commercial marijuana businesses, ranging from small business outdoor cultivation to the manufacturing of marijuana products to testing laboratories.
Chino’s ordinance will prohibit all 20 business types from operating in the city limits. Deliveries cannot originate in the city.
Individuals will be allowed to grow up to six plants inside a private residence, but that too comes with regulations.
The plants must be completely indoors, whether in a home or apartment, or inside an enclosed accessory structure such as a shed or greenhouse.
Plants must not be visible from a neighboring property or the public right-of-way.
Any odor from the plant must not be detectable by the public, so the homes must have functioning ventilation and filtration systems that comply with all applicable building code regulations.
Lighting must not exceed rated wattage and must be confined to the interior of the home or structure.
Homes where marijuana is grown are not allowed to exceed the maximum rating of the approved electrical panel for the residence.
“Outdoor and visible marijuana plants, which can grow quite large, are a concern from both safety and enforcement issues,” Mr. Galante said.
Homes with marijuana plants are also required to keep a working fire extinguisher in the same room where the plants are stored, and the plants or any material from the plants in excess of 28.5 grams must be kept in a locked space.
“The indoor regulation essentially makes sure growing doesn’t have a negative influence on the surrounding environment,” Mr. Galante said.
Mr. Galante added that there were requirements for a space to meet the qualification of “private residence,” to prevent people from simply gutting homes and using them primarily as marijuana cultivation sites.
The house or apartment must have fully functional and usable kitchens, bathrooms and bedroom areas and is prohibited from being used primarily for marijuana cultivation.
The residence must also continue to meet parking standards, so entire garages can’t be completely converted into cultivation areas.
Tenants would also need consent from a landlord or property owner to grow marijuana on the property.
Marijuana cultivation will be regulated like any other code enforcement issue, said Mr. Galante, and will rely on community complaints to initiate investigations.
“In a practical sense, we aren’t going to have marijuana police that go around and visit every home,” Mayor Eunice Ulloa said. “I would assume that a neighbor who noticed suspicious activity would be calling the city to complain.”
According to David Wert, public information officer for San Bernardino County, Chino’s marijuana ordinance falls in line with county policies, which would regulate communities in Chino’s sphere of influence.
The City of Chino Hills has a similar ordinance.
Chino city manager Matt Ballantyne said the cities of La Verne, Pomona and Fontana have adopted similar ordinances. The city of San Bernardino allows commercial cannabis use.
Chino council member Gary George raised a question about violating federal law which still prohibits any and all marijuana use and cultivation.
Mr. Galante admitted the answer would rely on the political climate.
“The council is following the law as strict as the state will allow you to follow it,” he said. "I don’t see Chino’s ordinance ever coming into conflict with federal law.”