Antioch Council extends temporary ban on recreational marijuana businesses

By Allen Payton

At a special meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 1 the Antioch City Council voted 4-0 to approve a nine-month extension to the temporary moratorium on commercial, non-medical marijuana business in the city. The ban applies to the growing, manufacturing, sales and deliveries of recreational marijuana inside city limits. Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock was absent.

The city staff report explained the reasons for the special meeting and the ordinance.

“Last November, the City Council enacted a moratorium on all commercial marijuana land uses within City limits. The initial urgency ordinance adopted was, by law, limited to a duration of 45 days. In December, the Council extended the ordinance effectively for one year from the date of initial enactment (i.e., through November 7 of this year). At the November 1, 2017 Special Meeting, the Council shall consider whether to extend the ordinance for one additional year, i.e., through November 7, 2018. The Community Development Department and Office of the City Attorney have continued to monitor the legal and planning developments regarding marijuana since the extension of the urgency ordinance last year. A workshop presentation was provided by the City Attorney in the Spring to discuss the various issues associated with commercial marijuana land uses, including planning and zoning issues as well as the prospects for taxation and revenue generation. The direction of the Council following this meeting was for the City’s Economic Development Commission to study the issue and provide an analysis of the financial issues for the Council’s consideration.  The Commission has not completed this analysis.

To ensure the Economic Development Commission can complete its analysis, and to allow for an assessment of the State licensing program, scheduled to begin in January 2018; it is recommended that the Council extend the urgency ordinance for one additional year.  This will ensure Staff can fully evaluate and present to the Council the effects, impacts, and benefits of marijuana regulations when a permanent ordinance is presented in the forthcoming year.

In a report the city attorney prepared for the initial adoption and first extension of the Moratorium Ordinance, it provides the background for the council’s actions.

“Proposition 64, known as the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (“AUMA” or “Act”), was adopted by the voters on November 8, 2016 and took effect on November 9.  AUMA is now part of the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”), following legislation enacted in June 2017.  MAUCRSA has decriminalized under state law recreational marijuana use, cultivation, and distribution and further established a licensing program for non-medical commercial cultivation, testing, and distribution of non-medical marijuana and the manufacturing of non-medical marijuana products.  However, such licenses will not be issued at least until 2018.

In addition, the city attorney’s report stated, “It is imperative that the City retain local land use control over non-medical marijuana cultivation.  Several California cities and counties have experienced serious adverse impacts associated with and resulting from medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation sites.  According to these communities and according to news stories widely reported, medical marijuana activities have resulted in and/or caused an increase in crime, including burglaries, robberies, violence, and illegal sales of marijuana to, and use of marijuana by, minors and other persons without medical need in the areas immediately surrounding such medical marijuana activities.  There have also been large numbers of complaints of odors related to the cultivation and storage of marijuana.”

The city attorney’s report further states, “In order to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, the City Council desires to amend the Municipal Code to address, in express terms, non-medical marijuana uses.  In the wake of the adoption of Proposition 64 and MAUCRSA, the City Council hereby determines that the Municipal Code is in need of further review and revision to protect the public against potential negative health, safety, and welfare impacts and preserve local control over non-medical marijuana establishments.  Marijuana currently is prohibited under federal law as a controlled substance,” and that “Proposition 64 and MAUCRSA expressly preserve local jurisdictions’ ability to adopt and enforce local ordinances to regulate non-medical marijuana establishments including local zoning and land use requirements, business license requirements, and the ability to completely prohibit the establishment or operation of one or more types of non-medical marijuana businesses. Proposition 64 and MAUCRSA further recognize the City’s ability to completely prohibit outdoor planting, harvesting, cultivation or processing of nonmedical marijuana for personal use, and the City’s ability to regulate indoor cultivation for personal use.”

The interim ordinance was necessary because “the compacted time frame between now and the expiration of the extended ordinance on November 7, 2017 does not provide sufficient time to consider and adopt a regular zoning code amendment, which includes public notice, consideration by the Planning Commission, and first and second reading before the City Council.  Consequently, an extension to the interim prohibition on cultivation of non-medical marijuana for personal use, commercial cultivation, manufacturing, testing, distribution, delivery and retail sales and the issuance of any permits and/or entitlements relating to such uses is necessary for an additional period of one year.”

City staff will return at a future council meeting with a permanent ordinance for consideration and adoption.

See the entire staff reports for the agenda item, here. For more information on Proposition 64 please see the voter guide information from last November’s election when it passed and the Legislative Analyst Office analysis.

the attachments to this post:

ACC Mtg agenda 110117
ACC Mtg agenda 110117

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