The Corte Madera Town Council agreed this week to keep the cannabis industry out of town — at least for now.
The council on Tuesday voted 4-0, with Councilman Sloan Bailey absent, to extend a moratorium on cannabis business activity in town for up to one year, expiring Sept. 18, 2019. The moratorium approved last year was due to sunset next month.
“We just need to do more work and get more public input,” said Mayor Bob Ravasio.
Ravasio said that whenever a cannabis discussion pops up at council meetings, hardly anyone attends and “there is almost no public comment.”
The town plans to now host two community workshops starting next month and launch an online survey in an effort to solicit feedback from the community.
Planning Director Adam Wolff said that if things move quickly, staff could recommend that the Town Council consider adopting cannabis regulations before the moratorium is lifted.
“The goal is to have it done by early 2019,” Wolff said.
If the council does end up approving new cannabis regulations before the moratorium expires, the council would likely vote to eliminate the moratorium at the same time, so that the new rules could go into effect.
Marin decision-makers have been grappling with how to best regulate the cannabis industry since voters passed Proposition 64 in 2016. The proposition legalized cannabis, but sales were not legal until Jan. 1 this year with the proper state and local licenses.
Like many communities, Corte Madera passed a moratorium prohibiting cannabis businesses from opening shop in town, including dispensaries, delivery services, testing labs, manufacturing plants and other related activities.
Under the moratorium, deliveries are allowed into town from services that are based outside of town limits.
The temporary ban was designed to allow town staff and officials time to craft the right regulations for the town.
Although resident Karl Spurzem said he hasn’t participated in the conversation with town officials, he said “it’s a thoughtful approach, but it could move faster.
“The voters have had their say and towns should push forward.”