CA: Concord Approves Marijuana Ban, But May Expand Medical Cannabis Delivery Options

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
Responding to pleas from dozens of patients, city leaders may allow licensed dispensaries that deliver medical marijuana – but do not sell products in a store – to operate in the city.

In June, the City Council adopted an ordinance allowing licensed dispensaries located outside the city to deliver to qualified Concord patients if the businesses register with the police department and provide the names, ages and driver's license numbers of couriers working in the city.

Council members on Oct. 24 unanimously voted to have city staffers research and develop regulations for what the state calls "non-storefront dispensaries" such as the Agathist Collective, which has been operating illegally in Concord since 2015.

"I am in favor of a non-storefront dispensary, especially with the delivery component, I think that's something that we need to have," Councilman Tim McGallian said.

The Planning Commission must review the draft regulations, which will address a range of issues, including the number of dispensaries allowed, where they can locate and required security measures, before the council votes on them.

Although Councilman Edi Birsan, who believes Concord should regulate all aspects of the cannabis industry, including testing labs, commercial grow operations and retail sales, pushed for a quick turnaround, Councilwoman Carlyn Obringer urged her colleagues to take the time to fully understand the potential impact on the community.

"I'm not opposed to this," Obringer said. "But I also don't want the city to rush into something and then regret having not been more thoughtful and putting safety guard rails into place."

Concord prohibited medical marijuana dispensaries and home delivery in 2005 and banned outdoor cultivation eight years later. In January, the city expanded the existing ban on growing marijuana outdoors to include plants intended for recreational consumption.

To give the city time to explore options for regulating medical marijuana dispensaries, retail sales and other commercial cannabis operations,on Oct. 24 the council also approved a ban on all marijuana activities and uses, except those allowed under Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana use for adults, and delivery by out-of-town dispensaries.

The ban prevents the state from issuing licenses next year to marijuana-related businesses that want to open in Concord.

Of the dozens of people who spoke at the meeting, most live in Rossmoor and receive medical cannabis from the Agathist Collective. But a few Concord residents on both sides of the issue also addressed the council.

"We're all about living, we're not trying to die," said Concord resident Devlyn Sewell, a medical cannabis user. "So, help those who are trying to live the best they can by getting their medication to prolong their life and their quality of life."

Although nearly 61 percent of Concord voters supported Proposition 64 and a recent survey found that 69 percent of respondents favor allowing medical marijuana sales in the city, opposition remains. Citing concerns about crime, property values and quality of life, many of the emails from residents urged the council to ban retail cannabis sales.

"Slowly but surely, the idea of Concord as a town for families is disappearing. This is another crack in the shell," resident Rosanne Nieto said at the meeting. "I will do everything to stop this from happening. If the man from Walnut Creek wants to have an operation here in Concord, he should be in front of his city hall trying to get one."

However, Councilman Ron Leone acknowledged that Concord is not a cannabis-free community.

"Whether we want marijuana in our city or not, marijuana is here," said Leone, who suggested allowing one or two medical cannabis retailers to open as a pilot.

"So the best thing to do, from my perspective, is figure out a way of trying to place some kind of degree of management onto the product so that we have a little more control of what's going on within our city boundaries."


News Moderator: Ron Strider 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Concord bans marijuana, may expand medical cannabis delivery
Author: Lisa P. White
Contact: Contact Us — East Bay Times
Photo Credit: Kevin J Beaty
Website: East Bay Times - Contra Costa and Alameda county news, sports, entertainment, lifestyle and commentary
Top Bottom