Carlsbad to just say no to weed

The city of Carlsbad intends on putting the lid on weed.

The Carlsbad City Council on April 25 will consider an ordinance to change the language in the Carlsbad Municipal Code to expressly prohibit commercial marijuana activities and outdoor growing.

The move comes in the wake of a new state law that opens the door to the recreational use of marijuana, but gives local governments the right to make the call.

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act started as a citizens initiative in the state of California and was included on the Nov. 8, 2016, ballot as Proposition 64. It passed with 57% of the vote and most of its provisions took effect Nov. 9, 2017. The new law legalizes the nonmedical use of marijuana by persons 21 years of age and over and the personal cultivation of six marijuana plants, and creates a state regulatory and licensing system for the commercial cultivation, testing, and distribution of nonmedical marijuana, and the manufacturing of nonmedical marijuana products.

The law also, however, allows local governments to prohibit or regulate and license commercial nonmedical marijuana.

The Carlsbad City Council will consider an ordinance to change the language in the Carlsbad Municipal Code to expressly prohibit commercial marijuana activities. Today, these activities are prohibited through something called “permissive zoning.” Under permissive zoning, any land use not specifically listed in the code is not allowed. Commercial marijuana activities are not listed. The proposed ordinance also bans the outdoor growing of marijuana for personal use.

Although the proposed ordinance doesn’t change the fact that commercial marijuana activities are prohibited in the city of Carlsbad, the change in wording is recommended due to two recently passed state laws. The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, effective Jan. 1, 2016, and the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, effective Nov. 8, 2016, created regulations and licensing requirements for marijuana growing, sales and use. The state laws give cities the authority to prohibit commercial marijuana activities. City staff are recommending changing the Carlsbad Municipal Code to preserve local control over this issue and prevent the state from issuing licenses for marijuana businesses to operate in Carlsbad.

Within the County of San Diego, most jurisdictions ban all commercial marijuana activity, including cultivation, processing delivery and dispensaries. Only four cities allow limited commercial activities:

  • La Mesa (medical marijuana cultivation, processing, and dispensaries)
  • Lemon Grove (medical marijuana dispensaries)
  • Oceanside (medical marijuana delivery)
  • City of San Diego (medical and recreational dispensaries)

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