Hollywood Local News West Hollywood

Cities reconsidering rules on marijuana

LOS ANGELES — Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act on the Nov. 8 ballot, has made several cities in Los Angeles County reconsider their current laws regarding medical marijuana.

If approved by voters statewide, the measure would allow adults 21 and over to possess, transport, purchase, consume and share up to one ounce of marijuana and eight grams of marijuana concentrates.

On Aug. 15, the West Hollywood City Council adopted a resolution in support of Proposition 64.

It is the first city in California to endorse the measure.

“Unfortunately since the passage of Proposition 215 [in 1996], there has been great uncertainty in the law on the issue,” West Hollywood City Councilman John J. Duran said.

“I’m a criminal defense lawyer by day and routinely see prosecutions for transportation and cultivation of marijuana related to medicinal marijuana. Add in the conflict with federal law which prohibits all marijuana use and possession as a schedule I drug — and you get a sense of the confusion and fear around marijuana use.”

In attempt to clarify any questions, West Hollywood co-sponsored the second annual Cannabis Education Forum Aug. 20.

The educational event provided residents an opportunity to learn about cannabis and the topics surrounding its use.

Duran noted that the city is currently engaged in management discussions about what changes may occur if Proposition 64 passes, similar to what happened in anticipation of the passage of Propostion 215 in 1996.

“Being a small city, we often pilot innovative policies that other cities copy,” he said. “We are prepared to do this also on marijuana legalization.”

The city of Huntington Park approved its ordinance establishing regulations for medical marijuana business in March. Two months later, the City Council awarded three medical marijuana business permits.

The dispensaries aren’t open yet. The owners are still going through Huntington Park’s strict process. The city has shut down all of the illegal dispensaries operating within the city.

“It is imperative that we regulate these businesses and that we retain local control so that we are not at the mercy of the state,” said Carlos Luis, senior planner for Huntington Park.

“Providing a legitimate pathway for these business allows you to extinguish the unauthorized businesses, ensures that the strictest standards are being met, and provides positive revenues for the city’s residents.”

Pico Rivera’s prohibition of medical marijuana dispensaries remains in place despite a recent effort to change the law. There has been a ban on dispensaries since 2008.

In response to Proposition 64, Mayor David Armenta and Councilman Bob Archuleta proposed allowing so-called pot shops in the city.

But council members refused to make a motion on a proposed ordinance legalizing dispensaries during the Aug. 23 meeting. The lack of action essentially killed the proposal by Armenta and Archuleta.

“It’s going to be a wait and see pass on the November election and go from there,” said Jason Machado, senior manager in economic development for the city.

“At this point there is no more action that will be taken.”

Culver City likewise is waiting on the election’s outcome. Currently, marijuana facilities are not permitted in Culver City because it’s not a permitted use under zoning codes.

“We did receive direction from the city council earlier in the year to bring a discussion item to them at the end of the year or early 2017 because there is an item on the state ballot,” said Senior Deputy City Attorney Lisa Vidra.

“They will want a public meeting to discuss whether it’s medical marijuana or recreational marijuana and take public input on how we would want to address it because we would need to amend our municipal code.”

Compton is planning on holding a public meeting as well. The city’s current ordinance prohibits the establishment and operation of medical marijuana dispensaries.

“We are going to have a public workshop revisiting the issue scheduled on Sept. 13,” City Attorney Craig Cornwell said.

“We will get discussions about the law and different view points expressed.”

The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. at the Compton council chambers.

 

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