Nevada City Council unanimously passes first reading of ordinance allowing indoor cultivation of 25 square feet or less |

Nevada City Council unanimously passes first reading of ordinance allowing indoor cultivation of 25 square feet or less

The City Council of Nevada City unanimously passed a draft marijuana ordinance on Wednesday that allows limited indoor growth for qualified patients and their primary caregivers as long as their grow is 25 square feet or less. Under the ordinance, growers will also have to pass an inspection by the Nevada City Police Department as well as to obtain a permit.

The draft ordinance received a 4-0 vote with council member Duane Strawser being absent. Vice Mayor Evans Phelps thanked the community for coming out, and reminded everyone that this was the first reading of an ordinance with rooms for amendments. Council member Robert Bergman seconded her sentiment.

Nevada City Police Sgt. Paul Rohde said the current ordinance strikes a nice balance and gives law enforcement an appropriate scope of control. Residents who supported different sides of the issue patiently waited for a chance at the microphone.

Ken Baker, a Nevada City resident, thanked the city council for considering the draft ordinance, arguing that marijuana created a nuisance.

“It’s obnoxious in smell, and it permeates our residence, even if we are 100 feet or so from the garden, “ said Baker. “We don’t allow our grandchildren in the backyard anymore.”

Harry Bennett, founder and developer of the Coalition to Tax & Regulate Medical Cannabis, said that he is not against the ordinance, but disliked some of the language, such as describing marijuana as a catalyst to criminal activities.

“We are in a new century, we need to move on with the language of the law,” said Bennett, adding that the ordinance is appropriate for a small community like Nevada City.

“I think we should not allow indoor and outdoor cultivation,” said resident Roger Savage. “Allowing indoor cultivation is dangerous for people growing and for their neighbors. We keep reading in the news that houses with cultivations got broken into, but what’s worse is their neighbors’ houses are often broken into by mistake.”

In other business, the city council unanimously voted to move forward with a special tax adjustment option.

The new sales tax rate will be on the November ballot.

This option would increase the sales tax rate from 8.5 percent to 8.875 percent. The rate would remain in place until March 31, 2018, when Measure L expires. The rate will then drop a corresponding 0.375 cent

This measure would provide $432,000 annual funding to finance the wages of three full-time firefighters as well as a new “foot-beat” police officer who would patrol the downtown area 40 hours a week for crime prevention.

To contact Staff Writer Teresa Yinmeng Liu, please call 530-477-4236 or email

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