View Mobile Site

Lathrop slaps 45- day moratorium on pot businesses

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED December 21, 2017 1:20 a.m.

At the end of the day, the lure of money wasn’t enough to get the Lathrop City Council to sign off on commercial cannabis related businesses locating within the city limits.
On Monday, the council voted unanimously to approve a 45-day moratorium on businesses that in any way generate revenue from soon-to-be-legal or medical cannabis – giving them enough to time to schedule a formal council vote that will prohibit the activity permanently if it generates the necessary votes.
Not even the impassioned plea of Justin Danner – who was representing a Stanislaus County based dispensary operation – to not rule out potentially lucrative opportunities that don’t have to deal specifically with distribution of the product itself would sway the council, some of whom said that there wouldn’t be anything that could get them to vote in favor of allowing the commercial sale of cannabis.
“As long as I’m on this council, my vote will always be no,” Councilwoman Martha Salcedo said, noting that her job as a teacher working with children is a major factor in why she feels the way she does on the issue.
While the matter had effectively been battled out at the Planning Commission level prior to Monday’s emergency ordinance – which was only placed on the agenda because the council won’t have time this calendar year to consider the commission’s recommendation to formally ban any business engaged in commercial cannabis operations within the city limits – it did draw people like Danner, who was against the ordinance, and New Life Church Pastor Troy Stein, who was in favor of it.
According to Stein, the majority of the personal life counseling that this congregation does with its followers involves problems stemming from some sort of drug use – something, he felt, that would only get worse if the city made access to intoxicants that much easier for residents.
The council has already relaxed its previously ironclad ordinance banning the cultivation of marijuana to comply with the new California law, which goes into effect on New Year’s Day, and even with opposition comments from the audience the discussion amongst the council on the matter was light prior to the unanimous decision.
According to the legal definition, commercial cannabis operations include cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, processing, storing, laboratory testing, packaging, labeling, transportation, delivery and sale of cannabis or cannabis products with a state license – all of which are now temporarily suspended and will be up for permanent ban once the council meets after the first of the year.
One of the issues raised by Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal, when having a brief discussion with Danner from the dais, was the issue about whether commercial cannabis businesses can utilize routine banking for their business needs since most banks are federally insured and the federal government still classifies marijuana and all marijuana-related products as Schedule 1 narcotics – putting it on the same level as cocaine and heroin.
Currently seven states – California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, Nevada and Alaska – allow for the recreational use of marijuana, as does the District of Columbia. Other states, such as Maine, have proposed legislation that would add their name to the growing list that has decriminalized personal use of the drug and in some cases made it legal to purchase in stores that are overseen as part of a regulatory framework.
The city council previously turned down the opportunity to impose a marijuana-related tax that would have allowed the city, prior to the Jan. 1 deadline, to impose additional taxes on businesses that sell commercial cannabis in order to generate more revenue for the city.
According to Lathrop City Attorney Salvador Navarette, the city does possess the legal authority to determine whether to allow commercial cannabis operations to open within its borders as part of the configuration of the framework that will provide oversight to the new economy. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...