California marijuana laws: While Proposition 64 doesn’t allow cities to ban personal cultivation, it does allow cities to impose some regulations over the activity, if they find it necessary to do so. Pictured: Marijuana plants fill a room at a Denver cultivation facility in December 2013. (Hyoung Chang, Denver Post file)

House rules: Requiring permits for California home grows nonsensical

Orange County Register editorial: The freedom of adults to grow marijuana plants in their own home for personal use does not require intrusion from local governments

Anticipating the passage of Proposition 64, which will legalize recreational marijuana, at least two Orange County cities are proactively pursuing regulations with respect to personal cultivation of marijuana.

This month, Aliso Viejo and San Clemente have pursued ordinances requiring residents to obtain a permit from the city in order to grow marijuana in their own home, in the event Prop. 64 passes.

If approved, Prop. 64 will allow adults to grow up to six marijuana plants in their home, and while it doesn’t allow cities to ban personal cultivation, it does allow cities to impose some regulations over the activity, if they find it necessary to do so.

The city councils of Aliso Viejo and San Clemente voted unanimously to require permitting, seemingly for the sake of doing so. “We might as well try to get as restrictive as we can,” Aliso Viejo Councilman Bill Phillips said at the Sept. 7 meeting.

Government action is primarily justified when the alternative, inaction, causes sufficient harm to warrant intervention.

In this case, the freedom of adults to grow marijuana plants in their own home for personal use does not require intrusion from local governments, particularly when the intrusion is as trivial as a permit requirement for something that otherwise doesn’t require one.

San Clemente Planning Commissioner Wayne Eggleston, who voted against a permit process earlier this month, put it well. “We should not be making rules and regulations which cannot be enforced,” said Eggleston. “A person’s home is their castle, as far as I’m concerned. The permitting process inside someone’s dwelling, I think, is Orwellian.”

This story was first published on OCRegister.com