The pending arrival of legalized marijuana has left many California cities unprepared to deal with the potential impacts of commercialized cannabis.
And the City of Lathrop is asking for a bit more time to get a handle on the laws and regulations governing what is expected to become a burgeoning industry.
Tonight city staff is recommending that the Lathrop City Council approve an urgency ordinance that would place a 45-day moratorium on the opening of commercial cannabis businesses within the Lathrop city limits.
The sale of recreational marijuana is set to become legal in the Golden State on Jan. 1, and while the city has had discussions at the council level, an outright prohibition has not been approved by the council. While the Lathrop Planning Commission is recommending that the council prohibit commercial cannabis operations – cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, processing, storing, laboratory testing, packaging, labeling, transportation, delivery and sale of cannabis or cannabis products with a state license – from operating with Lathrop’s city limits, the council will not be able to vote on that recommendation prior to the start of the year.
Because an applicant that submitted the necessary paperwork to open such a business would supersede the city’s planning goals if no specific ordinance is in place, this move would prevent such a thing from happening.
Earlier this year the city relaxed its rules regarding the cultivation of marijuana by individual residents to comply with the pending changes in California law, rescinding a late 2015 ban on the cultivation of marijuana – either indoor or outdoor – because of health and safety impacts that law enforcement officers claim would be nullified if that specific activity were ceased within the city limits.
That particular attempt didn’t appear to gain much traction, according to Lathrop Police Chief James Hood, who noted that the department still receives complaints from residents about the cultivation on a regular basis – forwarding those concerns onto the Sheriff’s Department’s narcotics task force for investigation and possible mitigation.
As California follows in the footsteps of other states that have gotten in what is being called “the green rush,” the actual product itself remains a Schedule 1 narcotic in the eyes of the federal government, and its possession and sale is still considered a crime by federal drug enforcement agencies. Because of this designation, banks – because of their federal backing – are unwilling to do business with cannabis operations, making them effectively cash businesses that in the past have become attractive targets for robbers and thieves.
If the City of Lathrop is unable to enact the municipal code changes that will prohibit the businesses with the 45-day window, upon the expiration of the urgency ordinance the city would then become open to entrepreneurs who are looking to serve the city’s market.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.