Council Votes To Ban Cultivation, Distribution of Marijuana Within City Limits

Glendora Police haul away marijuana cultivated in a storage unit near Gladstone Street and Lone Hill Avenue Sept. 25, 2012. Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

Desiring to maintain local control in the face of new marijuana laws, The Glendora City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt a formal ban on the cultivation and distribution of the plant within city limits.

The ordinance being considered involves three changes to the Glendora Municipal Code, amending Section 5.23.030 to prohibit the issuance of business licenses to marijuana dispensaries, Section 21.03.110 to prevent the establishment of such dispensaries and a new section would be added to Title 9 of the Municipal Code to explicitly ban delivery from any dispensary, regardless of location, City Staff said.

View the draft ordinance

The draft ordinance is a response to Governor Jerry Brown’s signing of The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act into law October 9.

The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act marries three pieces of legislation: AB 266, AB 243 and SB 643. All combined would allow for the issuance of licenses and allow the cultivation and delivery of medical marijuana in the absence local laws.

The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act went into effect January 1, 2016.

The League of California Cities, Independent Cities Association, Cal Chiefs and others lobbied the state to allow municipalities to maintain local control if they desired.

The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act does allow cities to adopt prohibitive ordinances, but have until March 1 to do so. After that date, cities will have to subject themselves to state regulation, City Staff said.

Those regulations have yet to be developed.

Other cites have adopted ordinances similar to what Glendora is proposing.

“Many of the surrounding cities have gone forward and done that very recently … like Covina, La Verne and San Dimas,” said Senior Planner Antonio Gardea.

Residents expressed concern at a December Planning Commission meeting about the proposed ordinances potentially affecting individuals who need marijuana for medicinal purposes, but the proposed ordinances do not criminalize the possession of marijuana for those who have a doctor’s prescription, Gardea said.

“We’re not prohibiting, we’re not outlawing medicinal marijuana. We’re just regulating how it’s delivered,” said Glendora Police Chief Tm Staab.

Glendora Council Member Mendell Thompson said he supported the new ordinances because of the quality of life the city wants to have.

“I’ve talked to many people within the schools and it would conflict with the idea that we have of just saying ‘no’ and then to allow this,” Thompson said.

In August of 2008, Glendora adopted City Ordinance 1903, prohibiting the issuance of business licenses to marijuana dispensaries within city limits, City Staff said.

In 1996, California voters passed the Compassionate Use Act, allowing patients of certain illnesses to consume medical marijuana. A legislative act allowed municipalities to regulate marijuana dispensaries.

Although cultivation is formally banned in the city, Chief Staab did note that an individual with a legitimate medical recommendation issued by a doctor who might be growing a handful of plants may not even end up being cited or arrested.

“People drive five miles per hour over the speed limit, but we don’t issue them citations…it’s against the law. Police officers have wide discretion. It’s not something we may enforce. Not to mention the District Attorney won’t file charges against three plants for somebody who has a recommendation,” Staab said.

“We’re not outlawing compassion. We’re just outlawing crime,” said Glendora Mayor Karen Davis.