CA: Here’s How West Covina Is Preparing For If Voters Approve Recreational Marijuana


The question of whether to allow the sale of marijuana in West Covina is up for discussion again as the city looks to comply with a November ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana for all adults in California.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday night to initiate a code amendment allowing the indoor cultivation of non-medical, recreational marijuana if voters approve the ballot measure and study possible regulations for marijuana cultivation and commercial marijuana businesses.

“(The ballot measure) is widely predicted to pass in this state and we are in need of making some code revisions to be ready for that,” City Attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow told the council.

Proposition 64, or the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, would allow people 21 years and older to grow up to six plants indoors but cities could prohibit outdoor cultivation and adopt regulations on indoor cultivation. Cities could also prohibit or regulate commercial marijuana sales under the act, according to a staff report.

The city currently prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries and all cultivation of marijuana. Under the act, the city could continue to outlaw dispensaries altogether, but some council members indicated a desire to reverse the ban.

“If we don’t do anything people are going to do it anyways,” said Councilman Mike Spence, who has previously asked the city take another look at its ban on medical marijuana dispensaries. “(We should) start drawing up those regs so we can control this when the time comes.”

Mayor Pro Tem Corey Warshaw said while he wasn’t on board with allowing recreational marijuana businesses in the city, he was open to considering one or two medical marijuana businesses.

“There are seniors out there who are very elderly and aren’t going to grow plants and they need it,” Warshaw said.

The council formally banned dispensaries in 2014 after years of considering them illegal under federal law. At the time, the council acknowledged it may need to allow dispensaries in the city sometime in the future, pitching the ban as a kind of stopgap measure.

If voters pass the ballot measure the act would take effect immediately but a licensing system allowing dispensaries selling marijuana for recreational use would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2018 so the city has some time to study the idea.

But on Tuesday, some council members were still reluctant to permit dispensaries, medical or otherwise, in the city.

“The question is what kinds of businesses do we want in our city,” said Mayor James Toma. “I have not heard … that they want more marijuana dispensaries here.”

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Here’s How West Covina Is Preparing For If Voters Approve Recreational Marijuana
Author: Stephanie K. Baer
Contact: (626) 962-8811
Photo Credit: Jonathan Alcorn
Website: San Gabriel Valley Tribune