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Sacramento City Council Delays Marijuana Cultivation Vote

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Sacramento City Hall

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

The Sacramento City Council has postponed a vote on a medical marijuana cultivation ordinance. City officials worry that Sacramento may lose control over medical marijuana cultivation rules by delaying the vote.

California Governor Jerry Brown signed three medical marijuana-related laws in October. One gives the state control over cities and counties medical marijuana rules if those entities do not have rules in place by March 1 that comply with state law.

Many cities and counties have banned cultivation as a result, but may review their bans at a later date.

The City of Sacramento Finance and Community Development Department proposed changes to the council at Tuesday night's meeting that would allow cultivation in commercial areas with some restrictions.

There was no unanimity among council members. Allen Warren was one who chose to wait a week before addressing an ordinance that would allow cultivation in the city. He says there are inaccuracies with city maps that show the location of cultivators and dispensaries.

"Even though we have an ordinance in place that states that we wouldn't have these dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools, we actually have one that is within 1,000 feet of two schools," says Warren.

City Attorney James Sanchez says there is no guarantee the city would win a legal challenge to an emergency ordinance, if one were passed next week.

"My assessment is, it's greater than 50 percent." Sanchez says the city could argue an emergency ordinance was required. "It's difficult to tell you at this point, but I do think it is something if a majority is inclined to do, we can make a good defense of it."

The council says it will refine the ordinance this week and will likely vote on the issue next Tuesday.

But the council's concerns may be moot since a bill has already passed in the California Assembly that would rescind the March 1 deadline.