CA: Santa Ana To Consider Changing Its Marijuana Law After Prop 64 Passage


Santa Ana – Following the recent legalization of recreational marijuana, the first Orange County city to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries is proposing amendments to its existing ordinance to comply with the new state law.

Santa Ana’s current ordinance bans all cultivation within the municipality.

Approved with 57 percent of votes on Nov. 8, Prop. 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, allows adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis and grow as many as six pot plants per home.

Santa Ana’s proposed ordinance limits indoor marijuana growing to no more than six plants and requires that individuals obtain and pay for a residential cultivation permit “subject to reasonable regulations,” according to a city staff report. The permit fee, to defray, in part, inspection and investigation costs, is to be established through a separate resolution.

But the city – which was the first in Orange County to license and tax a limited number of medical marijuana dispensaries – may place whatever restrictions it can.

Under Prop. 64, cities are authorized to prohibit outdoor cultivation, and Santa Ana’s proposed ordinance “would maintain a citywide prohibition on indoor commercial and outdoor marijuana cultivation,” the staff report states.

While Santa Ana can set guidelines around cultivation, “the city cannot ban recreational use of marijuana,” City Attorney Sonia Carvalho said in an email Monday.

Hassan Haghani, executive director of the city’s Planning and Building Agency, said city staff anticipated that people would immediately want to know the rules around personal cultivation. The proposed ordinance, he said, “basically puts forward how it could be done.”

Santa Ana was “progressive,” Councilman Sal Tinajero said, with Measure BB, which voters approved in November 2014 allowing the city to license, regulate and tax 20 medical marijuana dispensaries chosen through a lottery.

As of Monday, 15 of the 20 lottery winners have opened medical pot shops and the remaining five are undergoing the approval process, according to Cmdr. Jose Gonzalez with the Santa Ana Police Department.

Tinajero – the strongest proponent of Measure BB on the City Council – said he did not support Prop. 64 and was particularly concerned about “the recreational side.”

“My support has always been on the medical side,” Tinajero said Monday. “I think it’s good that our staff is bringing (the ordinance) before us now, to avoid any confusion. I think people need to know that just because this law passed, doesn’t mean you can open up shop anywhere in the city.”

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Santa Ana To Consider Changing Its Marijuana Law After Prop 64 Passage
Author: Jessica Kwong
Contact: The Orange County Register
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Website: The Orange County Register