City Council Stubs Out Pot Shops in Pasadena

New regulations would only allow medical marijuana deliveries into the City; existing dispensaries may be ‘disqualified’ from City and State licensing

Published : Tuesday, November 7, 2017 | 5:32 AM

City Council Meeting

Despite the State’s legalization, the City of Pasadena won’t allow any commercial pot dispensaries in any part of the City. And for the moment, no one knows how long the new ban will be in place, or if it will ever be lifted.

Monday night the Pasadena City Council unanimously approved a set of changes to its zoning code that would formalize the City’s current ban on pot dispensaries, which are currently labeled “nuisance businesses,” much like liquor stores.

There was one amendment to the Council’s vote. The new zoning regulations would allow deliveries of medical marijuana from outside the City into Pasadena.

Recognizing the realities of the State law, Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek said, following two hours of discussion, “We may be swimming against the tide here. We will revisit this at some point, I’m sure. I just don’t know when.”

The Mayor also pointed to the irony that two-thirds of Pasadena’s citizens voted in favor of Proposition 64, “but no one wants it in their neighborhood.”

“A lot of cities are looking at this like some great new form of revenue,” he added, “but I don’t see a lot of dollar signs here.”

Councilmember Victor Gordo, agreed, saying, “We have to be so careful and cautious. There is so much to learn with this.”
Acknowledging that a number of California cities will be opening their doors wide to marijuana sales, he cautioned, “It’s going to be the wild, wild west out there.”

“We need to see what other cities will do,” added Councilmember Andy Wilson.

A number of residents spoke in favor of the regulations, with many agreeing that the City should not rush to open any new pot dispensaries.

“We need good ordinances,” said David Erickson, who spoke on behalf of a number of local residents. “Right now, this is just a patch to get us to the next level.”

The new regulations would prohibit citywide commercial marijuana activities, including retail sales and cultivation for commercial purposes. Along with the new regulations, the Council also voted to adopt a Resolution of Intent to bar current illegal marijuana dispensary operators from any future city permitting.

This, despite the passage almost a year ago to the day of Proposition 64, known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (“AUMA”), which legalized the recreational use of marijuana for individuals 21 years of age or older and permitted small­ scale personal cultivation throughout the State. It also allowed for retail sales and other commercial marijuana activity by cannabis businesses licensed by the State, and established regulatory and taxing schemes for non-medical marijuana activities.

Essentially, the measure means that the State is now allowing commercial sale and delivery in California, as well as personal cultivation and use of marijuana, but cities are free to enact their own limiting regulations.

Official state licensing and regulation will begin January 1, 2018. According to the City’s staff report, the ban on personal outdoor cultivation is intended to be a permanent ban, but the ban on commercial marijuana activities may be revisited in the future. Smoking marijuana in public would also be regulated like tobacco, according to the new regulations.

Pasadena City Attorney Michele Bagneris will now begin to prepare the actual wording of the new regulations for presentation to the council and the new regulations are expected to be in full effect in December.




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