A few shake-ups could possibly be on the horizon for Pauls Valley's nearly new city ordinances and what's allowed and what's not when it comes to local medical marijuana card-holders and the plants they grow at home for personal use.
A much closer look could be coming for things like permits, fees, inspections and how the city of Pauls Valley can regulate the legal growth of plants by locals with a card in hand.
The first step looks to have come with a recent discussion by members of the Pauls Valley Planning and Zoning Commission.
Those members are wondering what the city is allowed to do to keep any home grown plants above board and legal by any medical marijuana standards.
“If there's no mechanism to check that then people can get in trouble,” said David Assad.
One question floated out there is how does the city check the number of plants being grown legally at a local residence.
“Plants inside homes is not the problem,” said Assistant City Manager Don Wageman.
“We have yards all over town that have various signs of plants in back yards, front yards, all over the place. That's where the problem is.
“We don't want it visible or accessible to the public. Right now it's all about not being visible and not accessible.”
Just the opposite of that was presented in the form of photos showing a single marijuana plant standing several feet tall.
During the Sept. 21 meeting Wageman said he recently spotted the Christmas tree size marijuana plant as he just happened to be driving by a local residence.
The plant located near the home was in plain sight of anyone coming by that location.
“This is a controlled medication that's not being controlled,” Kevin Driskill said.
“With something like this people without a medical card can have access to this.”
According to the Wageman and commission members, right now there has to be some sort of complaint made before city officials can conduct an inspection of a home as it relates to marijuana growth.
Assad said there are also questions about medical privacy that have be answered before determining if there will be permits, fees or even a registration listing local residents with a medical marijuana card who grow plants at home for personal use.
“There has to be limitations to our jurisdiction. We just need to have that information so we know what we can do,” Assad said about HIPAA medical privacy laws.
“Before we create a list we need to know if if falls under HIPAA protection. How do you regulate this or should it be regulated.”
Wageman agrees the medical privacy issues will ultimately determine what the city of Pauls Valley can do with this home growth issue.
“I don't think there's much we can do other than listen and research,” he said.
“If a medical marijuana license is protected by HIPAA then we're pretty much limited in what we can do.”
Commission members stated they might reach out to local dispensaries to help get the word out on the need for more discussion on the issue of legally growing marijuana plants at home.
They added a meeting or two to hear from the public could be needed.
Richard Ragland also announced his intentions to step down from his seat on the local planning and zoning commission.