January 26, 2016 5:26 pm

Stop the Ban Wagon!

Cal NORML is tracking bans or proposed bans on medical marijuana cultivation and delivery in over 200 locations across California. The bans are the result of what Rep. Wood has called a “drafting error” in MMRSA, the set of bills that passed last year in the state to regulate medical marijuana.

Those regulations won’t be fully enacted until at leastJanuary 1, 2018; yet there was a provision in MMRSA saying:

In cities and counties without cultivation regulations of their own, the state shall be the sole licensing authority as of March 1, 2016.
The League of Cities advised any locality that did not have a medical marijuana ordinance to ban cultivation in order to protect their land use authority. (They have now said this is because meaningful land use regulations take time to write and there simply wasn’t time before the deadline.)
Rep. Wood has introduced a bill, AB 21, which would repeal the March 1 deadline; however his intent to pass the bill as an urgency measure has not slowed down the stampede to ban. A few locales are opting to regulate instead of ban, and some excluding personal use cultivation from the ordinance, but others are banning all cultivation and deliveries too. Even though some are now calling the bans “temporary,” it’s important to start gathering forces to push for repealing the bans in place of meaningful regulation at all local levels.

CAL NORML NEEDS YOUR HELP TO ALERT US TO PENDING BANS IN CITIES AND COUNTIES WE HAVE NOT HAD REPORTS ON. There are 58 counties and 482 cities and towns in California. If your city and/or county is not on the list posted at http://www.canorml.org/bansbycounty.xlsx and you can provide information on ordinances that have passed or are pending where you live, please respond ASAP.
You can:
– check your city council or board of supervisor’s website for upcoming meeting agendas, and search for marijuana. Report back to ellen@canorml.org when a marijuana ordinance is on an agenda, with the URL to the agenda and the agenda packet (with proposed ordinance)
– follow local press accounts and send in URLs to
– send us corrections or provide missing data for the spreadsheet at http://www.canorml.org/bansbycounty.xlsx, such as dates bans passed or will be heard
If you can check on other cities in your county, contactellen@canorml.org for a list of those in your area.
If you are facing a ban in your area, start reaching out to your local elected officials and let them know you oppose the ban and why. Talk to your friends and neighbors and get them involved, and write letters to the editor of local newspapers.
We have developed some talking points on the topic:
– Representative Jim Wood has introduced legislation, AB 21, to repeal the March 1 deadline in state law MMRSA. That bill is on the fast track to be passed and signed by the Governor before March 1. (See Rep. Wood’s letter to local officials http://www.canorml.org/woodsletter.pdf)
– Even if the March 1 deadline is not repealed, it is NORML’s opinion that this does not mean the city (or county) will lose its right to regulate medical marijuana activities. (See Cal NORML letter at http://canorml.org/openletter.pdf). At a joint hearing before The California Assembly Business & Professions, Agriculture, & Health Committees about MMRSA on January 19, Rep. Wood said that even if the March 1 deadline stays in place and/or is repealed later, cities and counties won’t be punished.
– If you feel you must act now, please consider three (or four) things:
    – make it a 45-day moratorium instead of a ban, as Solano County did. At that time we will know better about the March 1 deadline’s fate.
    – include a “sunset” clause as Alameda county did, meaning the ordinance will automatically sunset at such time as the March 1 deadline is repealed, (see: http://www.canorml.org/sunsetletter.pdf)
    – It’s sadly ironic that now that the state has finally moved to regulate commercial-sized medical marijuana activities, something local jurisdictions have been calling for, many local governments are moving to ban what would be better regulated, taxed, and brought into the light of day. Please protect patient rights and work with us towards meaningful regulations instead.
    – (if this bans all cultivation) the ordinance should be rewritten to ban commercial cultivation only; this is the only activity covered by MMRSA. There is no need to strip all patients in your (city or county) of their rights even if you feel you must pass a cultivation ban. Cities across the state such as Santa Barbara, Grover Beach, Morro Bay, Livermore, Suisun, Del Mar, Port Hueneme and Jurupa Valley have banned commercial cultivation but have made an exemption for personal-size gardens. Other places like Coalinga, Watsonville Adelanto and Desert Hot Springs have regulated commercial grows instead of banning them, and San Jose, Monterey County, Long Beach and others are developing licensing regulations.
    – last, and most importantly, appoint an ad hoc committee or other group to study the issue and come up with meaningful land regulations in (city or county) that will protect both public safety and patient access, as well as allow for the enforcement of environmental regulations and the taxation of commercial medical marijuana activities. Tell them you are willing to serve on such a committee (if you are) or recruit community members who will serve.

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