With sales of recreational marijuana in California set to begin next year, the plant remains herba non grata in Glendale.
The City Council met last week to discuss how to best handle marijuana’s legalization through a local lens — whether to ban or allow for the commercial sale of the drug within city limits. After a nearly four-hour meeting on the subject, the council unanimously decided to take a wait-and-see approach.
The motion was put forward by Councilman Vrej Agajanian, who wanted to see whether or not allowing dispensaries would be worth the effort.
“I would like [city] staff to return in the coming year — after analyzing the pros and cons [of allowing commercial dispensaries] to assist in making a more informed decision,” he said.
Over the next year the city will monitor recreational marijuana’s impact on the state before bringing the issue back up for discussion again.
Initially, the council was more split over the issue with both Mayor Vartan Gharpetian and Councilwoman Paula Devine coming out against the sale of marijuana in Glendale. Devine called the plant a gateway drug while Gharpetian said allowing dispensaries would go against his principles.
He said Glendale “has been a family town for ages” and that he wanted to keep it that way.
“If I want to remove the ban and allow dispensaries in Glendale, or even deliveries, I’m telling my kids it’s OK to smoke marijuana,” Gharpetian said. “I can’t find it in my heart to do it.”
Meanwhile, Councilmen Ara Najarian and Zareh Sinanyan were a bit more open to the idea. The two said the community and city officials have to deal with the reality of marijuana being legal in the state.
Najarian said allowing marijuana to be sold in Glendale would help strike a blow against drug dealers and diminish the black market.
“I think we need to regulate this, bring this above board,” he said. “The genie is out of the bottle — we’re going to lose all chance at regulation if we don’t do something.”
Agajanian was on the fence.
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Because Glendale won’t be taking action either way, the city’s current ban on cannabis will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.
Since 2011, marijuana dispensaries have been illegal in the city. The city also strengthened the ban last year by outlawing the cultivation of cannabis and the delivery of pot products.
However, since Proposition 64 was approved last year, the city’s prohibition on cultivation has been slightly lifted.
Residents are now allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants per household for personal use with cultivation allowed only indoors and outside of public view. Outdoor cultivation is still prohibited.
Additionally, state law now allows for the personal possession of up to 28.5 grams of cannabis or eight grams of marijuana concentrate. It does not allow for the consumption of pot in public spaces.
© 2017 the Glendale News-Press (Glendale, Calif.). Visit the Glendale News-Press at www.glendalenewspress.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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