Neil Derry

Derry

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 09/23/14, 8:18 PM PDT |

REDLANDS >> City Council candidate Neil Derry called Tuesday for the city to ban outdoor growing of medical marijuana after a high school student was killed apparently trying to cut marijuana from a man’s yard.

The county passed such a prohibition in 2011, when he was on the Board of Supervisors, Derry said, and he had assumed Redlands would already have followed suit.

He realized it hadn’t when police arrested Erlindo Rodriguez, 34, for allegedly shooting 17-year-old Redlands East Valley student Marcus Green while Green was cutting marijuana from Rodriguez’s house on the 1000 block of Post Street.

“If the marijuana had been secured inside, he wouldn’t have been able to go in there with a pair of scissors,” Derry said. “He’d still be alive.”

The county’s March 2011 ordinance, which passed unanimously, bans medical marijuana dispensaries from unincorporated areas and says marijuana can be grown only indoors by those with a state license.

The timing and way Derry made this call — contacting the newspaper rather than city officials — is distressing, said Paul Foster, a sitting councilman and one of Derry’s opponents in the November election.

“I find it very unfortunate that Mr. Derry would use this tragedy for his own political purposes in this campaign,” Foster said. “The City Council will work with our Police Department leadership and our city attorney to look at all reasonable alternatives to protect the public as we have always done.”

Derry said that if he hadn’t been running for election he would have approached the problem differently, but it’s still an important issue.

“The public’s been asking for a fix, obviously,” he said. “This is common sense. Redlands should do it.”

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