On Monday evening, the present Fortuna City Council members held a continued public hearing on the city’s proposed changes to marijuana regulations and unanimously approved of the first reading of the laws.
Councilwoman Tiara Brown and Councilman Doug Strehl didn’t attend the meeting. About 15 made up the audience in the council chambers.
“At this point in time we are where we’re at because of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act,” city manager Mark Wheetley said.
Under state law, people over the age of 21 can recreationally smoke marijuana and can grow up to six plants for personal use but cities are allowed to reasonably regulate that personal cultivation.
At an Oct. 2 joint workshop the Fortuna City Council and Planning Commission hashed out changes to the city’s marijuana ordinance brought about by California voter’s passage in November 2016 of Proposition 64, which legalized recreational cannabis for adults. City standards discussed included the prohibition of commercial cannabis deliveries and outdoor cultivation in city limits while requiring ventilation to eliminate odors, limits on growing lights, electrical connections, as well as mandating fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and building permits for any modifications. The ordinance also requires a notice of intent to be filed with the city to ensure compliance.
At on Oct. 16 public hearing about this ordinance the council directed city staff to incorporate changes into the draft ordinance including prohibiting cultivation in kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms and prohibiting sales, trades or dispensing on the parcel where the cultivation occurs.
Councilwoman Tami Trent explained that a home where cultivation occurs must have at least one kitchen, one bathroom and one bedroom not used for cultivation to protect the city’s housing stock.
“It still has to be a functioning house,” she said.
Language in the ordinance concerning lighting, noise, fire, generators, enforcement, odor, dimensions of attached units and annual inspection standards were tightened at the council’s request.
Councilman Dean Glaser made the motion to approve of the regulations which was seconded by Trent.
“A very wonderful yes,” Councilman Dean Glaser said when deputy city clerk Buffy Gray asked for his vote as she tallied each council member’s vote.
The second reading and public hearing of the cannabis regulations will be heard at the next council meeting.
The next regular Fortuna City Council meeting is scheduled on Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. in Fortuna City Hall at 621 11th St. More information is available at friendlyfortuna.com.
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