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CA: City Council Extends Marijuana Moratorium

Katelyn Baker

Well-Known Member
American Canyon has extended its temporary ban on outdoor cultivation and other activities related to recreational marijuana, giving city planners – and possibly others in Napa County – time to decide on a collective way to address the issue.

The city council last month approved a 45-day emergency moratorium following the passage of Prop. 64, which legalized recreational use of marijuana in California. Prop. 64 won't take effect until Jan. 1, 2018.

With that short-term ban set to expire at the end of December, the council approved a longer, 10-month moratorium on outdoor cultivation, processing, manufacture, distribution, testing and sale of marijuana.

The action was approved, council members said, so City Hall has more time to fully study how best to limit recreational marijuana, and to see if other leaders in the Napa Valley want to sit down and talk about working together on this matter.

Belia Ramos, who is stepping down from the council to join the Board of Supervisors next month, said she foresees the issue coming up at the county level.

"My caution will be to allow these discussions to take place at a regional level," Ramos told her colleagues at her last council meeting on Thursday. Having a 10-month ban would allow time for that to happen, she said.

"It's a discussion that should be explored" with other cities in the valley, said Ramos, to consider collective zoning "to address some of these ordinance issues."

Councilmember Mark Joseph concurred with Ramos, saying a countywide approach might make sense.

The council heard both support and opposition to banning recreational marijuana during the public comment period.

James Hinton, an activist who has run for Congress and the Board of Supervisors, urged the council not to go against the will of residents who voted for Prop. 64.

"We have an opportunity to end the war" on drugs, said Hinton. "Quit banning, that's draconian." He added that the federal government was "insane" for continuing to oppose marijuana and related products.

Resident Lisa Lindsey, who represents American Canyon on the Napa County Board of Education, said she considers herself "very liberal," but didn't vote for Prop. 64 because of concerns over how marijuana can impact youth.

Mayor Leon Garcia said the moratorium made sense, given how new the issue of recreational marijuana is in light of Prop. 64 being passed only last month.

He likened the challenge of regulating the drug and figuring out the complexities behind the issue to "building an airplane while trying to fly it."

The new moratorium on recreational marijuana will last 10 months and 15 days, unless a permanent ordinance is adopted sooner.

It does not stop individuals from growing up to six plants within their homes, a provision allowed under Prop. 64.


News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: City Council Extends Marijuana Moratorium
Author: Noel Brinkerhoff
Contact: 707.256.2269
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Website: The American Canyon Eagle
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