DEL MAR — Other than some possible future language modifications to address the testing and processing of marijuana, council members decided not to make changes to current cannabis laws in response to the passage of Proposition 64, which allows the adult use of recreational pot.
“So far we’re OK because we have everything except what was mentioned,” City Attorney Lesley Devany said at the Nov. 21 meeting. “So legally I don’t think there’s anything you have to do now.”
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act allows people older than 21 to smoke or ingest the drug in a private home. Use is illegal where smoking is prohibited, including within 1,000 feet of a school, and while driving or in a public place.
Up to six plants can be grown indoors. That is something the city cannot prohibit. Commercial cultivation, which will require a state license, is not currently allowed in Del Mar.
The new state law will allow retail sales for recreational pot and dispensaries for medical marijuana but both will require a state license.
Retail, mobile and vending machine sales, dispensaries, bulk storage and delivery and distribution businesses are prohibited in Del Mar.
However, licensed retailers can make deliveries in the city, which must allow the use of public roadways.
Cities can choose whether to prohibit or allow testing facilities, subject to local limitations and state-licensing requirements, for the research and testing of marijuana and new marijuana-related products. This type of use would typically be conducted in office or laboratory setting in a medical office building or business park.
“Testing is only category we don’t already have covered,” Amanda Lee, the city’s senior planner, said.
Cities also have the option of regulating or banning facilities that would process and manufacture marijuana and other related products, such as edibles.
Non-marijuana-related processing and manufacturing is allowed in some parts of the city.
In addition to providing an update on the new law and how it applies to current city codes, staff presented information on some of the problems other states, such as Colorado and Washington, have had since recreational marijuana became legal.
They noted an increase in crime, emergency room visits and people driving while impaired.
“A lot of the arguments are very persuasive, however … we’re sort of beyond the point of arguing whether or not it should be legal. It is legal,” Councilman Dwight Worden said. “If we do nothing we have already on the books a ban of everything that we can ban.”
Cities have about a year to adopt new laws governing commercial sales, cultivation, delivery services, distribution, storage, processing and testing.
If a local code is silent on anything the state can issue a license without public input, Lee said.
Councilman Terry Sinnott asked staff to let council members know if and when any steps need to be taken to change existing laws.
“I think we’ve made some good decisions in the past on medical marijuana,” he said. “I just don’t want that to deteriorate into something else by lack of attention.”