The Fountain Valley City Council took a step Tuesday toward banning recreational marijuana-related businesses in town.

The council voted 4-0, with member Mark McCurdy abstaining, to approve the first reading of an ordinance to ban all commercial marijuana activity such as shops and delivery services, plus outdoor cultivation.

The council must affirm the ban with a second vote at a later meeting for it to take effect.

“Since we anticipate other cities in Orange County are actually going to allow commercialization, it might be a prudent approach for the council to take a step back and see what happens in the other cities first by issuing a ban now,” said Colin Burns, the city’s attorney. “And then if it works out in the other cities and people are happy with it, and there’s no secondary impacts and the industry is running up to par, you can always lift your ban later on.”

California voters last year passed Proposition 64, legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults, but the law allows for local control. Cities have until the end of this year to preemptively ban marijuana-related commercial activity. The state will begin issuing business licenses for shops and other commercial endeavors Jan. 1.

McCurdy said that in approving Prop. 64, voters were saying they wanted recreational marijuana legalized. He said he wanted more research and public input — including what other cities plan to do and how many are allowing commercialized recreational marijuana — “before we decide to do something that the voters didn’t vote for.” His motion to delay a ban ordinance died for lack of a second.

He then abstained from the vote on the ban.

Councilwoman Cheryl Brothers said a ban is prudent, at least right now.

“[A ban] can be lifted more easily than it can be implemented, especially if we have a number of licenses already issued,” she said.

Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach already have voted against commercialization of recreational marijuana.

Costa Mesa has extended its prohibition on most recreational cultivation to give city staff more time to study options, but it does allow some medical marijuana-related businesses.

Newport Beach City Attorney Aaron Harp said an ordinance passed in 2015 already bans the cultivation, processing, distribution and delivery of all types of marijuana in the city.

Fountain Valley already prohibits medical marijuana commercial activity.



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