After the resounding success for marijuana legalization in California last week, many California cities are considering curbs on the sale, production, and processing of cannabis. The San Jose Mercury News reports that even before last week’s Proposition 64 victory, many California cities had either initiated moves to curb the marijuana industry within their borders or passed municipal bans.
Notable among California municipalities restricting marijuana business is the city of Berkeley. Cannabis consuming residents, however, need not fear. Not only will recreational sales be allowed in adjacent Oakland and San Francisco, but medical sales will continue and the ban will only remain in place until the city has put a local licensing and regulatory framework in place.
While some localities, such as Santa Barbara have – at least temporarily – banned both cultivation and use of recreational marijuana, other, such as San Jose, have banned all aspects of the marijuana business – cultivation, processing, and sales – while allowing recreational use in the city. And San Jose residents won’t have to travel far to reach the city’s border. Given the amount of venture capital floating around Silicon Valley, it’s hard to imagine an enterprising cannabusiness person won’t have a recreational shop along the border on day one of legal recreational sales.
The purpose of these laws is primarily to ensure that the under-regulated bonanza of California’s early medical dispensary days isn’t repeated. These fears, however, may be overblown. James Anthony, an attorney based in Oakland who specializes in marijuana law, is quoted by the Mercury News saying that, ‘This is a complete and utter waste of time. … They’re making it look like Prop. 64 is a scary thing that allows pot shops on every corner — and it’s the complete opposite.”
In fact, Proposition 64 only allows recreational dispensaries to open with permits from the city in which they operate. With control over the zoning of marijuana-related businesses completely in local hands, these laws are unlikely to have much impact. No matter what local bans may pass, residents of Bay Area cities, Sacramento, and the Los Angeles region won’t have to travel far to purchase legal recreational marijuana beginning in 2018. For those who live in mostly-rural inland California, it’s hard to say whether they’ll have easy dispensary access. But it’s a sure bet that law enforcement won’t place the marijuana consumption of post-legalization rural Californians under much scrutiny.