Montclair’s two-year ban on the expansion, gross sales or supply of marijuana within the metropolis could also be coming to an finish. However there are two very totally different visions of what comes subsequent.
In 2017, the Metropolis Council voted to ban all industrial cannabis exercise within the metropolis. That didn’t cease unlawful dispensaries from coming into town, officers say.
“Simply because we’ve a ban doesn’t imply that they’re not right here,” Metropolis Supervisor Edward Starr instructed the council Thursday evening at a particular workshop assembly. “Regardless of our greatest efforts, they proceed to propagate.”
Thirty dispensaries have been closed within the metropolis since 2010, in keeping with Starr. The closure course of takes six months to a 12 months, he mentioned, after which dispensaries pop up in a brand new location.
“We had one throughout the road from Metropolis Corridor, subsequent to the submit workplace,” he mentioned. “We shut them down and, guess what, they’re again open once more.”
So, two years after the Metropolis Council authorized a ban, they’re now reconsidering.
Starr offered the Metropolis Council with a trio of proposed adjustments to metropolis ordinances, which might be voted on later this summer season. They’d repeal town’s current marijuana ban; create laws for industrial cannabis actions; and prohibit smoking in public — of each cannabis and tobacco merchandise.
Underneath the proposal, licensed retailers would pay a 5% annual franchise payment.
Gabe Fondario, a code enforcement supervisor for town, is just not excited concerning the prospect of legalized marijuana.
The unlawful dispensaries “simply run amok,” Fondario mentioned. “There’s no management on them in any respect.” However he mentioned he believes legalizing marijuana within the metropolis is critical. Authorized companies will assist police the market, he mentioned, and reduce demand for black market marijuana.
“We’d like the authorized ones right here,” Fondario mentioned. “We’re getting our butts kicked on the market.”
Including to the strain: Hours earlier than Thursday’s assembly, town was offered with a discover of an intent to flow into a poll petition.
In keeping with metropolis officers, the “Montclair Freedom of Selection Hashish Initiative” is backed by unlawful marijuana companies in and across the metropolis. The petitioner, Cody Lowe of Montclair, couldn’t be reached Friday for remark. His lawyer, Los Angeles-based lawyer Bradley Hertz, didn’t reply to requests for remark Friday afternoon.
The proposed poll initiative is totally different than the measures proposed by workers.
The initiative would cap tax income from industrial cannabis companies at $10,000 a 12 months. That’s lower than it might value to manage them, in keeping with Starr. It will additionally repeal Montclair’s current restrictions however solely require industrial cannabis companies be 250 toes aside.
Ordinances created by poll proposition can solely be modified by different propositions. The Metropolis Council would haven’t any capacity to alter the brand new guidelines.
“If the voters undertake (the initiative), marijuana can go wherever in Montclair,” Mayor John Dutrey mentioned Thursday evening. “There’s no necessities about background checks or felony checks,” which town workers’s proposal contains.
To get on the poll, petition gatherers want 796 legitimate signatures — 10 % of the 7,955 Montclair voters who voted for governor within the 2018 election.
As of Feb. 10, Montclair had 14,758 registered voters, in keeping with the California Secretary of State’s workplace. And most Montclair voters assist authorized marijuana: 53 % of them voted in favor of 2016’s Proposition 64, which legalized leisure marijuana in California.
If petition gatherers accumulate sufficient legitimate signatures, the Metropolis Council should name a particular election.
“I don’t assume we’ve a complete lot of time,” Dutrey mentioned.