With the looming prospect of marijuana legalization come November, local governments across the state must grapple with the important question of how to respond to both medical and recreational marijuana.
Residents in Costa Mesa and Laguna Beach will consider initiatives pertaining to medical marijuana dispensaries.
In Costa Mesa, there are three competing measures, two of which would allow varying numbers of dispensaries, while the other would allow for testing labs and the production of marijuana products, but not dispensaries.
Though the Editorial Board has not yet endorsed a particular measure in either city, we have consistently argued that city governments are, for the most part, wasting their time and taxpayers money in pursuing a strictly prohibitionist approach to dispensaries.
Such an approach to marijuana is sure to be complicated by the potential passage of Proposition 64, which would allow for the legalization and regulation of recreational marijuana.
With the potential of a legal market for marijuana, communities will have to consider whether it makes sense to turn away or accept a potentially lucrative trade, which components to allow, what sort of taxes to impose and under what conditions are issues to be sorted out.
Local governments should begin having those discussions sooner rather than later to avoid complications and confusion.