Council Considers Ordinance Prohibiting Cultivation, Delivery of Medical Marijuana in Pasadena

Published : Monday, November 23, 2015 | 6:29 AM

The Pasadena City Council tonight will directing the City Attorney to prepare and return with an ordinance within 30 days adding new sections to Chapter 8 of the Pasadena Municipal Code that prohibit the cultivation and delivery of medical marijuana in the City.

In an Agenda Report to the City Council through the Public Safety Committee, Assistant City Manager Steve Mermell warned that Pasadena as a local jurisdiction could lose its ability to regulate the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana, and forfeit it in favor of the state, unless a such local ordinance is adopted.

In October, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of bills collectively referred to as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), which mandates that any state-licensed medical marijuana-related business cannot operate in any local jurisdiction in which it does not have a license.

Another bill in the MMRSA, Assembly Bill 243, says that “if a city, county, or city and county does not have land use regulations or ordinances regulating or prohibiting the cultivation of marijuana, either expressly or otherwise under principles of permissive zoning, or chooses not to administer a conditional permit program pursuant to this section, then commencing March 1, 2016, the [state] shall be the sole licensing authority for medical marijuana cultivation applicants in that city, county, or city and county.”

Mermell is now asking the City Council to direct City Attorney Michelle Bagneris to prepare a draft ordinance within 30 days adding new sections to Chapter 8 of the Municipal Code, so that Pasadena can continue to exercise jurisdiction over all medical marijuana cultivation or delivery.

“Unless a local jurisdiction enacts an ordinance affirmatively prohibiting delivery of medical marijuana, once the State implements a state licensing structure for such deliveries, a local jurisdiction will forfeit forever its ability to regulate in this arena,” Mermell said in the report. “Consequently, if the City Council wishes to continue exercising local authority and control over the cultivation and delivery of medical marijuana in the City, an ordinance prohibiting such must be put in place.”

The recommendation will be taken up at the City Council’s meeting Monday evening, which starts at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Pasadena City Hall, 300 North Garfield Avenue.

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