The Colton City Council on Tuesday directed City Manager Bill Smith to look at the potential benefits and harms associated with marijuana cultivation and manufacturing, after sitting through a presentation discussing regulation options.
“The best thing the City Council could do is not close the door on something we fully don’t know about,” said Mayor Richard De La Rosa. “That’s what we would be doing if we didn’t at least give direction to staff on which way we wanted to go.”
De La Rosa and the City Council unanimously agreed to move forward with exploring options Colton could have with cannabis cultivation.
However, some council members made it clear that they did not favor any presence of marijuana dispensaries, businesses, delivery, and cultivation operations in the city.
“Opening the door to allow cultivation is not in the best interest of our residents,” said Councilwoman Summer Zamora-Jorrin. “I can foresee the issues associated with odor and personal use.”
Last November–after voters passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Prop.64)–the City Council approved an ‘urgency notice’ to temporarily ban cultivation, delivery, sale, and transportation of cannabis. The ban will stand until officials establish a permanent plan.
City Attorney Carlos Campos pointed out that most of the Act’s laws, such as the establishment of business licenses, won’t be in effect until 2018–allowing the city to adopt a “wait and see” approach.
Councilman Isaac Suchil believes that may be the best option Colton could take to better analyze the marijuana situation.
“Let’s wait and see before we start opening up doors here,” Suchil said. “There’s a lot of back and forth right now. By mid-2018, there should be more stable regulations.”
Councilman Jack Woods expressed concerns over the potency of marijuana–saying that the plant could potentially cause severe harm to those who use it.
“Many people have died from its effects,” he said. “I’d like to see some sort of monitoring or scientific investigation to determine what is in the plant.”
Attorney Joshua Naggar, who represents a marijuana cultivator interested in bringing his operations to Colton, believes the city should refrain from deciding what to regulate and give that responsibility to the voters.
“This is a democracy right? I think the city should place this on the ballot, get out of the way, and leave it to the voters to decide what’s best.”