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Grants Pass council may ban pot grows — or not

Effective Wednesday night, Grants Pass will have an ordinance that bans growing recreational marijuana outdoors in the city limits and requires all outdoor growing of medical marijuana to cease as of Dec. 31.

Or maybe not.

City Councilor Roy Lindsay proposed the ordinance two weeks ago, but it has yet to pass. An ordinance has to be read twice before it can be voted on, and Grants Pass City Council had only one reading at the July 1 meeting because there was not a unanimous vote to have a second reading.

The issue is still alive only because Mayor Darin Fowler voted yes to break a 3-3 tie, which allowed the first reading of the ordinance.

However, the votes were identical when the council considered having a second reading. Because the second vote was not unanimous, the second reading could not be held, nor could a vote be taken.

Two weeks ago, Fowler said that when the issue comes up Wednesday, there will be a second reading of the ordinance with no discussion. The council will then be asked whether to pass the ordinance.

Assuming the full council attends and assuming the votes are the same, city councilors Lily Morgan and Dennis Roler, who were absent the first time around, can decide the issue — unless somebody else changes their vote.

Measure 91, a statewide voter-approved initiative that legalized recreational use of marijuana starting July 1, allows possession of up to one ounce of marijuana outside the home and up to eight ounces in homes.

It also allows the cultivation of up to four plants per household.

City officials can't do anything about personal possession, but they are intent on exploiting inexact language in Measure 91 that appears to allow jurisdictions to force cultivation indoors, which is expensive.

Lindsay's proposed ordinance not only called for an immediate ban on outdoor growing of recreational marijuana but also a ban starting Jan. 1 on medical marijuana cultivation, which has been legal since 1998.