City Council members remain leery of just how involved they want their town to be when it comes to commercial and personal use of marijuana.
Council members were still debating the matter as of 9:15 p.m. after a public hearing on a draft cannabis ordinance.
“We have a long ways to go,” Councilman Mike Hudson said of how much work he felt still needs to be done to determine the effects of allowing certain marijuana businesses into town.
Mayor Pete Sanchez voiced concern that the city is taking too long in making up its mind, asking where the county’s other cities stand on their own marijuana ordinances.
Several residents stepped forward to ask the city to keep its hands off regulating personal marijuana cultivation. Resident Anthony Adams called that part of the draft ordinance “a case of government overreach.”
Troy Lawrence, who described himself as a medical refugee from Ohio, asked the council to allow delivery of medical marijuana in town, which is how he gets his marijuana.
The City Council has been mulling over a proposed ordinance on commercial and personal cultivation for several months.
The proposed ordinance would impose more restrictions on personal cultivation beyond state law, such as requiring it to be indoors in a secured area, it causing no detrimental outdoor odors and those growing marijuana would have to live there.
Any commercial marijuana business would require council approval on a case-by-case basis and permits would have to be renewed annually. There would be no renewals if the business fails to comply with regulations.
It allows a cannabis business zone between 5 and 20 acres located away from residential areas for professional uses such as manufacturing, testing labs, indoor cultivation, distribution and non-storefront retail.
A map of the city showed there’s not much land that fits that bill, with vacant sites mainly on Petersen Road, on Cement Hill Road and west of Marina Boulevard and north of Highway 12.
Council concern about the potential sites prompted staff to state there have been no requests yet for such development.
If approved, the ordinance would replace a mid-October action prohibiting all commercial marijuana activity in the city until July 1.
Council members said in September they don’t want retail sales, but were open to seeing a cannabis business zone with non-retail professional uses.
The new year marked the start of when the state of California can issue licenses for various commercial cannabis. The October action was to allow city planners to retain local control over those decisions.
Passage of Proposition 64 legalized specified personal use and cultivation of marijuana for adults 21 or older. It also reduced criminal penalties for specified marijuana-related offenses for adults and juveniles.