New Development in the Cannabis Debate

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The Board of Supervisors of Riverside County decided Tuesday night not to reinstate their prohibition against commercial marijuana. They also decided not to set up any new parameters.

The board had a large turn out of speakers and listened to these folks for over 2 hours, who all had ideas about the ordinances that should be put into place. Most of the speakers were for loosening rules and getting rid of cannabis prohibition in Riverside County; allowing farming, dispensaries and other opportunities for the cities and counties to produce revenue.

Discussions during the meeting included the following:  

  • What security should be required at dispensaries?
  • Should outdoor farms be restricted to a specific size?
  • Should incentives be offered to small grow businesses interested in commercial cannabis cultivation?
  • Should restrictions be imposed on water and electrical consumption?

The regulation making process will come together in the near future with the county planning commission. According to the Office of County Counsel, more than a dozen cities have created regulations permitting the cultivation and trade of medicinal and recreational marijuana.

As far as County regulations, “Moving forward does not guarantee anything,” board Chairman, Temecula Valley supervisor Chuck Washington said. “Regarding the shape of the regulatory scheme — there may be things we can’t agree on, and that would end the process. Regulation is something I believe my constituents want.” The existing county rules state that all types of dispensaries are banned along with growing, but it permits medical marijuana patients and their caregivers to grow up to 24 cannabis plants on their own property.

Here is the confusing part:  Under state Prop 64, individuals who are at least 21 years old may grow up to six plants for personal use in a private dwelling, although any type of commercial-level indoor or outdoor cultivation is strictly outlawed.

While commercial marijuana grows and sales are now permitted statewide, localities continue to have authority to regulate the activity — up to and including blanket bans. The average revenue from cannabis taxation is between $10 million and $25 million annually. No matter where you stand on this, the cannabis debate is progressing and with the Mayor of Temecula Matt Rahn on the state cannabis advisory board he may be pushing for some changes.