CA: Hesperia City Council To Revisit Cannabis Ordinance

Katelyn Baker

Well-Known Member
Hesperia - Faced with the daunting task of reviewing nearly two dozen separate permits for cannabis activity, the City Council here agreed to move Tuesday's agenda item to March.

The Council was set to discuss an ordinance regarding various types of commercial marijuana activities that may be permitted in the city after Jan. 1, 2018, when the state will begin issuing commercial licenses for marijuana-based businesses.

Hesperia Senior Planner Dave Reno told the Council the review of 19 permits "could conceivably" turn into the review of 38 permits as each one is divided into medical and recreational cannabis activity.

The Council will meet on March 21 to begin the review process, which will also include reviewing applicable city taxes or fees that must be adopted along with the permits.

City Manager Nils Bentsen told the Council there is no immediate urgency to pass the cannabis ordinance, but the ordinance will pass by default if the Council does not take action.

Mayor Paul Russ and the Council agreed that reviewing, defining and passing the ordinance should not be placed on the back burner, but should be discussed within 90 days.

The Council also agreed that new members Larry Bird and Rebekah Swanson, who were both sworn in last month, need some time to familiarize themselves with the cannabis issue that's appeared before the Council numerous times.

During the March meeting, the Council will also continue last year's discussion on whether Hesperia should prohibit outdoor personal cultivation and/or regulate indoor personal cultivation of cannabis.

Last March, medical marijuana patients and many in the cannabis industry filled City Hall as they pleaded with the Council not to prohibit the cultivation, manufacturing and mobile dispensing of medical marijuana.

In a surprise move that pleased the crowd, the Council agreed then to revisit the proposed ordinance. They also told the crowded chamber how the city needed to regulate the substance, citing years of "issues" with dozens of illegally-run dispensaries that were the scene of shootings, prostitution and other crime.

During Tuesday's meeting, only a handful of residents shared their stories with the Council on how the use of medical marijuana has helped them or a family member with a variety of medical issues including seizures, pain relief, cancer symptoms and more.

Mayor Pro Tem Russ Blewett told the crowd he'll stick to his "promise" of allowing the delivery of medical marijuana, saying, "Everything else I'll oppose."

Blewett said he changed his mind about the delivery of cannabis last year after an 84-year-old woman told the Council she has to drive across town to purchase marijuana for her ailing 88-year-old husband.

"An 84-year-old woman shouldn't be on the road," said Blewett, as the audience chuckled and mumbled their agreement.

Blewett also voiced his concern about patients obtaining medical marijuana cards from "so-called" physicians and by "unreputable means." He added that the number of dispensaries that operated illegally in the city were run by "slimy scumbags who broke federal, state and local laws."


News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Hesperia City Council To Revisit Cannabis Ordinance
Author: Rene Ray De La Cruz
Contact: 760-241-7744
Photo Credit: None Found
Website: Daily Press
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