Preparing to speak their minds to the City Council, organizers advocating for more legalization of marijuana in Lompoc gathered outside City Hall on Tuesday.
At stake in the meeting was the Lompoc City Council enacting an ordinance that protesters say restricts the rights that the community voted for under Proposition 64.
“You know this a community that you look in the center of this town and it’s a lot of apartment buildings and low economic areas where people live and they don’t have the funds to build extravagant grow rooms that city of Lompoc wants to enforce upon people to grow their marijuana,” says protester Joseph Garcia.
The regulations that Garcia refers to are the parts of the ordinance that would require “the issuance of annual permits by the fire and police departments, as well as an initial building permit” that ensures things like proper ventilation and electrical supplies are in place in case something goes wrong.
Accidents like the fires in grow operations that the Chief of the Lompoc Fire Department, Kurt Latipow, says have already happened three times since he became Chief, one even injuring a fellow firefighter.
“All we were doing is setting some parameters so they can be safe and that’s based on experience,” Latipow explains.
After listening to a line of speakers nearly out the door of the Council Chambers, the Lompoc City Council decided to reject the ordinance so they could have time to do research with a committee compiled of growers, council members and medical marijuana users to create better legislation in the future.
This decision was a great win for people like Kathy Piemme who uses the drug for medicinal purposes.
“I’d say there’s probably 15 thousand people in this town that do medicinal marijuana and it’s something that we need and if they take it away, we’ll go somewhere else to get it,” says Piemme.
Now it’s uncertain when the marijuana focused ad hoc committee will begin meeting, but for now advocates of legalization in Lompoc are happy the council is giving it more time.