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Manteca may go to pot sales
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There is a possibility that legal marijuana sales may be allowed in Manteca.

Mayor Ben Cantu is following through on a campaign promise to have the city explore possible storefront sales of marijuana

The City Council when they meet on Nov. 19, at the mayor’s request, will decide whether to form a two council member ad hoc committee to explore a cannabis ordinance. If the council concurs, Cantu indicated last week he would appoint council members Gary Singh and Jose Nuño to the committee.

While what Nuño and Singh might end up proposing for the council to consider if the committee is formed won’t be known until they complete their work, given what previous councils have adopted it is likely to cover whether marijuana sales should be legal in Manteca and perhaps even a change in some of the restrictions involving marijuana grown for personal use.

Singh has indicated he believes if Manteca allows marijuana sales that the city should impose a special tax on such transactions.

Previous councils have resisted efforts to legalize the sale of marijuana. The Manteca Police Department has consistently advised elected leaders against legalizing sales in Manteca.

If Manteca does end up allowing the sale of recreational marijuana it will be the only city in the county to do so. San Joaquin County earlier this year legalized recreational marijuana sales and is in the process of reviewing permits. Based on county rules, a marijuana storefront could literally open on Manteca’s doorstep at it would be allowed in business parks such as the one on Comconcex Road just east of Austin Road off of East Highway 120 that is across the street from Cornerstone Community Church and New Hope Church.

Stockton does allow medical marijuana sales under specific conditions.

So far only 144 of California’s 482 cities have legalized marijuana sales whether it is for recreational or medicinal purposes. 

The other possibility Manteca could explore is allowing the legal commercial grow of marijuana and the manufacturer of cannabis related products such as San Joaquin County is allowing. Few cities allow commercial grows. Those that do, typically relegate them to industrial park.

California authorities last month estimated the value of illegal marijuana seized throughout the state in 2018 at $1.5 billion. That is the rough equivalent of legal sales the state tracked based on tax collections. The $1.5 billion figure represents marijuana that was seized. It does not encompass illegally grown marijuana that was illegally sold.

The existing city ordinance controlling the personal grow of marijuana is as follows:

uNo person shall grow marijuana on any property unless they first secure a permit from the Community Development Department and pay fees that may be required and set forth by resolution of the City Council. The decision was made to not have such permits filed with the police department for two reasons: It is a property use issue and city leaders didn’t want people to be hesitant about people seeking permits.

uNo more than six marijuana plants — immature or mature — will be permitted for indoor cultivation.

uIt is illegal to grow marijuana outdoors.

uMarijuana in excess of 28.5 grams produced by plants kept for indoor personal cultivation must be kept in a locked space On the grounds of the private residence and not visible from the public right-of-way.

uThe marijuana cultivation area shall not create a nuisance or adversely affect the health, welfare or safety of the resident or nearby residents by creating dust, glare, heat, noise, noxious gases, odor, smoke, excess traffic, vibration, or other impacts or may be hazardous due to use or storage of materials, processes, products, or wastes.

uBuilding officials may require additional specific standards to meet the California Building Code and Fire Code including but not limited to installation of fire suppression sprinklers.

uThe marijuana cultivation area must be in compliance with the current adopted edition of the California Building Code including natural ventilation or mechanical ventilation.

uThe residence where the marijuana is grown shall include a fully functional and usable kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom areas for their intended use by the resident authorized grower. The premises shall not be used primarily or exclusively for marijuana cultivation.

uThe authorized grower shall reside full-time in the residence where the marijuana cultivation occurs.

uThere will be no exterior visibility or evidence of marijuana cultivation outside the private residence as seen from a public right-of-way and that includes light emanating from cultivation lighting.

uIt is prohibited to use products such as CO2, butane, methane, or any other flammable or non-flammable gas for marijuana cultivation or processing.

uThe marijuana cultivation area shall be located indoors within a fully enclosed and secured structure and not exceed 50 square feet or exceed 10 feet in height, It cannot come within 12 inches of the ceiling or any cultivation lighting. Cultivation in a greenhouse is permitted on the property that is not part of the house as long as it is fully enclosed and not visible form a public right-of-way.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email