- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Californians are expected to approve Proposition 64 on Election Day and legalize recreational marijuana within the state, but some cities are pre-emptively passing pot control ordinances of their own in anticipation of its likely enactment.

Passage of Prop. 64 would legalize marijuana under California law for adults 21 and older and instantly make it legal to buy, possess, grow and transport limited amounts of weed for personal use. With one week until Election Day, the results of a poll released Tuesday by Survey USA for Southern California News Group and KABC suggests Prop. 64 is poised to pass, with legalization ahead among likely voters by 15 percentage points.

But as California braces for legal pot, lawmakers in cities like Santa Barbara and Palo Alto are rushing to implement rules aimed at ensuring the Golden State doesn’t instantly erupt into a Wild West of weed.

The Palo Alto City Council last week passed a measure 7-1 banning outdoor marijuana cultivation, and several cities in San Diego County have approved temporary ordinances banning people from growing weed or using it recreationally, Bay Area News Group reported Tuesday

In Santa Barbara, lawmakers approved a temporary ban back in September that establishes a 45-day moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses if and when Prop. 64 passes so officials “can figure out how we might regulate these kinds of sales and storefronts,” Councilwoman Cathy Murillo said previously.

In National City in San Diego County, lawmakers passed an emergency ban last month in response to a report that raised concerns about pot laws in Colorado, where the nation’s first legal recreational dispensaries opened in Jan. 2014.

“I see this as an economic cost to society that is definitely far outweighed by any potential revenue that could come into this city,” National City Councilwoman Mona Rios told the San Diego Union-Tribune when she voted in favor of the ban Oct. 18.

Other cities including San Marco, San Bruno, Santee and Walnut Creek have already passed anti-Prop. 64 measures ahead of Nov. 8, and similar rules are being weighed in cities like Davis, Martinez and Hayward, Bay Area News Group reported.

In San Jose, an ordinance being considered by City Council on Tuesday would reiterate its existing ban against cultivating medical and recreational cannabis in spite of Prop. 64’s likely passage.

California became the first state in the country to establish a legal medicinal marijuana program upon passage of Proposition 215 in 1996. A measure that aimed to legalize recreational weed in 2010, Prop. 19, initially showed persistent support in the polls prior but ultimately failed to pass.

Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2014, and Washington, Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C. have since followed suit. Legal marijuana sales coast-to-coast totaled $5.7 billion in 2015, according to a recent report published by New Frontier and ArcView Market Research; California could likely have a legal marijuana industry worth around $6.6 billion by 2018 if Prop. 64 passes next week, the same report predicted.

Medical marijuana remains legal in California, and similar frameworks have been set up across half the country following passage of Prop. 215.

Nine states including California will consider recreational marijuana measures on Nov. 8, while voters in four states will consider putting medical marijuana programs in place.


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