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Lathrop may ban all sales of marijuana in city limits

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POSTED November 21, 2017 1:13 a.m.

There’s not much that Lathrop officials can do to limit the use of marijuana within city limits now that the ballot initiative that was approved by voters last November is set to take effect after the first of the year.
But they can limit what marijuana-related business activity they want to allow within their boundaries.
That’s exactly what they’re hoping to do.
In a special meeting of the Lathrop Planning Commission scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 29 – scheduled for 6 p.m. inside of the Lathrop City Council Chambers at 390 Towne Centre Drive – the city is requesting that the commission take the first step in recommending that the Lathrop City Council add a section to the Lathrop municipal code that would ban any sort of commercial marijuana operation outright as opposed to just limiting it to certain zones.
For nearly two years, Lathrop had outlawed all cultivation of marijuana – even for patients with valid California medicinal cards – after complaints from residents about “quality of life” issues that stemmed from growth issues ranging from odors to crime. In order to remain compliant with Proposition 64, the adult marijuana use initiative that will go into effect on Jan. 1, the city relaxed that law to allow indoor cultivation within specified guidelines.
Marijuana dispensaries, cooperative and collectives have, and will continue to be, against the city’s municipal code.
But when it comes to what qualifies as a “commercial” entity, Lathrop isn’t mincing any words – spelling out specifically what elements will not be allowed under the city’s law if the commission and ultimately the council decides to approve the proposed changes.
According to the staff report prepared for the item, “commercial cannabis activities include uses such as cultivation (commercial), manufacturing, distribution, processing, storing, laboratory testing, packaging, labeling, transportation, and delivery and sale of cannabis or cannabis products that require a state license.”
Back in September the city presented the council with its options on how to deal with the massive change in how California will manage the use of a substance still federally scheduled, and the council opted not to take the tax-revenue route in order to cash in what some business insiders are calling the “green rush” that is headed for the Golden State.
The council could make the final decision on whether the commercial ban will go into effect next month in advance of the change in the law.
Just this week California regulators released 276 pages of regulations that commercial businesses must abide by in they are going to provide cannabis or cannabis-based items to customers – requiring 24-hour surveillance and limiting hours of operation to 10 p.m. as well as outlawing them within 600-feet from schools, for example – but none of those will legally prevent Lathrop from preventing the shops from opening in the community thanks to a provision in the initiative that requires cannabis businesses to be in compliance with local regulations.
Last month Lathrop Police Chief James Hood noted that even though the city took a tough stance on allowing personal cultivation from November of 2015 through September of this year, the number of complaints from residents about those same quality of life issues persisted without much change.
Any business that provides cannabis or cannabis products in defiance of the proposed ordinance, if it passes, would be classified as a “public nuisance” and the city would have the legal right to abate that entity. The prohibition focuses solely on cannabis businesses and operations that would require a special permit from the State of California to operate, and is not intended to target licensed residential care centers for the elderly, licensed residential hospice operations or home health service, or cultivating, furnishing or gifting cannabis from a primary caregiver to a qualified patient so long as it doesn’t run afoul of state law.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.


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