CONCORD -- Growing medical marijuana outside could soon be against city law.

After months of discussion, the City Council is set to decide Tuesday whether to ban outdoor cultivation of marijuana, including that used for medicinal purposes.

The issue was first brought to the council last year, when a resident in the Dana Estates neighborhood complained about a neighbor growing pot in his back yard. It has pitted medical marijuana patients and caregivers -- who say access to pot is already limited -- against homeowners, who say the crop invites crime into the city.

In February, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended the City Council approve the ban. A majority of council members have, at previous meetings, expressed their support for a ban.

The ban would restrict growing medical pot to inside residential units and is modeled after an ordinance in Moraga. Officials say the ban has worked in Moraga. If approved, city code enforcement officers would enforce the law and respond to resident complaints.

The ban would expand the city's regulations on medical marijuana. The council banned pot dispensaries in 2005.

Chris Olsen, the Dana Estates resident who has been the subject of complaints, has said his backyard medical marijuana operation has followed state law. Olsen, who did not respond to calls for comment this week, has threatened to file a lawsuit against the city if the ban is approved.


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State voters decriminalized medical marijuana for qualified patients and caregivers with the passage of The Compassionate Use Act in 1996. But City Attorney Mark Coon has said nothing in the law guarantees a person the right to grow medical pot outside. Coon recommends the council approve the ordinance, which requires an amendment to the city's development code.

The City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 1950 Parkside Drive in Concord.

David DeBolt covers Concord and Clayton. Contact him at 925-943-8048. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.