San Marcos adopts urgency marijuana moratorium ahead of Prop. 64

SAN MARCOS — With California voters only days away from voting on a proposition that would legalize marijuana for recreational use, the San Marcos City Council has enacted a urgency ordinance that effectively bans much of what the proposition would allow.

The council voted 4-0 on the 45-day moratorium, which would ban dispensaries and the outdoor cultivation of marijuana, as well as the indoor cultivation if it exceeds the parameters of Proposition 64, the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act,

The council’s action would also prohibit people from smoking marijuana in public, on city property and in retailers’ premises.

City officials said the emergency action, which takes effect immediately, will give the city time to craft its own regulations and study how the law could affect public safety and local businesses.

“This basically gives us more time to figure out the best ways to deal with this law if it passes,” Mayor Jim Desmond said.

While the adopted moratorium is 45 days, the council has the opportunity to extend it for an additional 10 months and 15 days, effectively stretching the ban for a year. City staff recommended that the council extend the ban if Prop. 64 passes, but to let the ban expire if the proposition fails.

Prop. 64, which according to polls appears headed toward passage, would allow California residents and visitors 21 and older to buy, carry and give away up to an ounce of marijuana or up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis, such as waxes or oils.

It also would allow adults 21 and older to cultivate or process up to six marijuana plants for personal use.

The law would not allow for the consumption of recreational marijuana in public, rather only on private property or in “cannabis cafes” licensed strictly for marijuana use.

The initiative would uphold laws against driving while impaired or having an open container of marijuana in a car.

But it wouldn’t establish a threshold for how much THC (the compound in pot that makes users high) drivers could legally have in their blood, as other states have. Rather, it would divert tax revenue to law enforcement and researchers to develop better “drugged driving tests.”

Supporters call Prop. 64 the “gold standard” of marijuana legalization, arguing that it has strict safeguard that were by observing the four states that already allow recreational pot.

Its support rolls include rapper Jay-Z, actors Sarah Silverman, Danny Glover, Tim Robbins, Ty Dollar $ign, Jesse Williams, Olivia Wilde, Michael Williams and Shailene Woodley, who campaigned alongside Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary campaign.

Opponents argue that legalizing marijuana, safeguards or otherwise, will make it easier for youth to access the drug.

Two teens spoke in favor of the city’s action at the Oct. 25 council meeting.

“Marijuana is becoming a trend nowadays, so making a local (ordinance) would help control the use of it, especially among teens,” said Leslie Soza, who is part of the group called the Youth Advocacy Coalition.

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