CA: Eureka City Council Votes 3-2 To Allow Medical Marijuana Businesses

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Last night, with a 3-2 vote, the Eureka City Council decided to allow medical marijuana businesses in city limits. If the California Coastal Commission approves the planned changes to the municipal code and local coastal plan, then by the middle of next year dispensaries, manufacturing and distribution facilities and more could start setting up shop in the county seat.

As previously reported, the new provisions will allow up to a dozen different types of medical cannabis businesses to locate in specifically designated zones, and none of the businesses will be allowed to put up signage. The city will be able to approve up to two licenses for dispensaries every six months through a conditional-use-permit process until there is a maximum of six dispensaries. Eureka has had a moratorium on dispensaries since 2010.

Cultivation will be permitted primarily in industrial zones with small-scale, non-volatile manufacturing allowed in industrial zones and conditionally permitted in commercial zones. Volatile manufacturing – of butane hash, for example – will be limited to the general industrial zone, most of which is located behind Costco.

The vast majority of public speakers at last night’s meeting were in favor of the new provisions, though several objected to a rule prohibiting felons from obtaining licenses.

When the matter came back to the council for discussion, opinions were unchanged from last week. Councilmember Melinda Ciarabellini said she opposed the ordinance for several reasons, including marijuana’s continued listing as a Schedule 1 banned substance under federal law, the dangers of butane hash oil production and the possibility of children eating cannabis-laced gummy bears or other sweets.

Councilmember Marian Brady, who cast the other dissenting vote, said she had too many unanswered questions about banking issues, a track-and-trace program and business regulations.

But Councilmember Natalie Arroyo, who as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard had to get special permission to cast a vote on this matter, said she thinks the ordinance was carefully vetted by staff. The thinks it’s absurd that the city won’t allow these businesses to post signs but said if that’s what it takes to move the issue forward she was willing to do so.

Fellow council members Linda Atkins and Kim Bergel also voted to support the ordinance.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Eureka City Council Votes 3-2 To Allow Medical Marijuana Businesses
Author: Ryan Burns
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Photo Credit: Bayley Brown
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