In Sonoma County, residential neighbors are complaining of uptick in crime due to marijuana cultivation.
Marilyn Holmes watched with concern as her neighbor’s leafy green marijuana plants first began inching over the tall fence and their stinky odor spread through the west Santa Rosa neighborhood.
Four years and four marijuana harvests later, Holmes keeps adding to a pile of folders documenting phone calls to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, meetings with county officials and attempts to talk with her neighbors about their marijuana plants.
She views the pot garden as a nuisance that diminishes the quality of life on her street and puts the whole neighborhood at risk of robbery, burglary and other crimes.
Some are blaming Marijuana for foul smells, increased traffic and increase in violent crimes into residential areas. Recent shooting at Rincon Valley in which the suspect was shot and killed attempting to break into a grow operation; the home owner is now facing pot cultivation charges. Because cases like these, come counties and cities have completely banned marijuana cultivation altogether.
Cody Kyle, a 24-year-old resident who lives next door, said the tenants of the adjacent pair of properties recently built the fences to surround the parcels. Kyle said he and other neighbors were aware that marijuana was being grown at various times on different properties on the rural lane. For the most part, he said, the neighborhood has not experienced major crimes until the recent shooting.
“I don’t have a problem with people growing marijuana, but guns and a firefight, to me that is much scarier,” Kyle said.
And with possible recreational use right around the corner, city officials and city leaders are trying to come up with a solution.