Redondo Beach bans marijuana cultivation so it can explore long-term regulations

Redondo Beach bans marijuana cultivationRedondo Beach leaders have passed a last-minute ordinance outlawing marijuana cultivation in the city — quite literally.

As Californians cast their final ballots on election night, the City Council convened for an uncharacteristically short meeting this week, unanimously approving an urgency moratorium prohibiting outdoor cannabis cultivation in the event that Proposition 64 would pass.

It did shortly thereafter — as expected — making recreational marijuana use legal for adults 21 and over across the state at the stroke of midnight.

Public consumption and driving under the influence is illegal, and commercial licensing won’t begin until Jan. 1, 2018.

City Attorney Mike Webb explained that the urgency ordinance was needed for the city to be able to regulate certain aspects under Proposition 64 where municipalities have local control.

Under the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, cities can regulate or outlaw outdoor cannabis cultivation, or “reasonably regulate” personal indoor cultivation. The law allows individuals to grow six plants per residence for personal use.

The council’s meetings have been so lengthy in recent months with major topics, such as the CenterCal waterfront redevelopment, that Tuesday became the last opportunity for the panel to take action.

“This is purely a policy call,” Webb said, adding that Police Chief Keith Kauffman recommended the ban.

If a moratorium on outdoor cultivation was not passed before Proposition 64 became law, said Deputy City Attorney Jillian Martins, it would be difficult for police to enforce a future ban.

“Should we fail to disallow that immediately, it would be very difficult to come back in and regulate it,” she said.

When it comes to deciding whether to allow recreational dispensaries or cultivation operations in Redondo Beach, Martins said the city has time to consider that next year before the state can begin issuing licenses.

Cities can also decide whether to add a local sales tax for recreational marijuana and whether to require permits for personal cultivation.

Councilmen Bill Brand and Christian Horvath said they supported Proposition 64, but were in favor of sending the outdoor cultivation and other personal use issues to the Planning Commission and back to the council at a future meeting.

Webb said Proposition 64 will create a “new world” at the local level.

“A lot of it is just going to be a lot of neighbor disputes and less of a law enforcement tool,” he said.

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