The Lodi City Council voted 4-1 to approve an introduction of revisions to the city’s municipal code regarding marijuana during its meeting Wednesday night. Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce was opposed.
With the revisions, the city will maintain its ban on medicinal marijuana dispensaries and expand the ban to include commercial and wholesale sales of adult use cannabis, cannabis edibles or byproducts. The city will also continue its ban on all outdoor cultivation of cannabis within the city and allow indoor cultivation of cannabis as permitted under state law. The ban on the delivery and processing of medical marijuana will also be expanded to include adult-use cannabis. Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce disagreed, saying there should be some allowances made for medicinal marijuana.
“I think it is the right thing to do to allow for commercial delivery of medical marijuana to patients that live in Lodi,” Mounce said. “I do believe that being compassionate to those who don’t have the means or the ability to secure their medicine. They should be able to have someone deliver it to them.”[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section” curated_ids=””]City Attorney Janice Magdich said if the city were to allow commercial delivery of medicinal marijuana, it would have to set provisions.
Proposed provisions included requiring medicinal dispensaries to be licensed and regulated by the state as well as be in good standing with the city in which they do business.
Another provision would require the dispensaries to register with the police department and maintain a list of allowed delivery drivers. Changes to drivers would require a 24 hour notification and every Jan. 1, and the information would have to be updated. The police would have to be notified promptly if the drivers were to commit a crime while in the city.
“The standards of what medical marijuana is useful for are so broad that they are almost meaningless, so the exception for medical marijuana is and has been so big that you can drive a Mack Truck through it,” City Manager Steve Schwabauer said. “If you’re going to allow medical marijuana to be delivered, you’re basically going to be allowing marijuana to be delivered for anyone for anything.”
Two in attendance spoke in favor of the delivery of medicinal marijuana as well as dispensaries in Lodi.
Patrick Byron, who runs a marijuana business in Rio Vista, explained to the council that he was born with hemophilia and marijuana has helped him with his ailment while preventing him from having to rely on opioids and risky prescription drugs.
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“Why not allow people an alternative to opioids if there is another effective pain killer that’s so effective it can be can be used for almost any ailment? Why not allow people access to that?,” he said. “Maybe the perception is sure a lot of people can get it, but it also could be that maybe it really does help that many people.”
He said the newly approved changes to the ordinance would make medical cannabis cultivation outdoors a misdemeanor and would recriminalize an activity that was legalized in California 20 years ago, which is a violation of the Compassionate Use Act.
He pointed out because people are legally allowed to smoke marijuana in their homes in Lodi, that means there is a demand that has to be met, and if it’s not a legit dispensary, its going to be the black market.
Byron’s girlfriend Chelsea Taylor said she witnesses his struggles with hemophilia everyday as well as the benefits he gets from using marijuana.
“If the delivery aspect frightens you guys or you feel it’s too broad, then why not allow for a medical or even a recreational dispensary to be in your own town so that it would eliminate deliveries from other places being brought in here?,” she suggested. “Instead you would keep it totally local. You could also include in your ordinance that the driver that’s doing the delivery from your local dispensary is only allowed to have one order at a time and the order would already be paid for.”
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