BRENTWOOD — Brentwood has joined Contra Costa County and two of the four other major East County cities in prohibiting the outdoor cultivation, delivery and sale of marijuana.
On Tuesday night, the city council briefly debate the ordinance that was recommended by the city’s Land Use Subcommittee and passed it. The ordinance will ban all medical and non-medical marijuana facilities and will also continue the ban on deliveries.
Cities cannot stop people from growing up to six marijuana plants within their own residence.[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section” curated_ids=””]No members of the public came to comment on the ban and very little discussion was had before approving of the ban.
Vice Mayor Joel Bryant voiced his opposition to having dispensaries in town.
“It’s a cash industry and in the city of Brentwood, we have had very violent confrontations with illegal grows — guys breaking in, pistol-whipping people,” Bryant said.
The move follows the same path as the cities of Antioch and Pittsburg, which have also banned the cultivation, sale and delivery of medical and non-medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana patients in these three cities will need to drive to the cities of Richmond, Stockton or Modesto to find a dispensary.
The one exception in East County would be that after passionate public testimony, the city of Oakley decided to remove a prohibition on deliveries in the city ordinance, and also included an outdoor cultivation rule that essentially would require a covered, enclosed structure such as a greenhouse.
Contra Costa County itself has extended a moratorium on dispensaries in the unincorporated areas of the county, but have a long-term ordinance in mind.
The county has looked at ways to capture tax revenue from the sale of the product, but are still looking fo the right level of taxation that will draw in revenue while preventing a black market from flourishing.
Special report: Cannabis and the environment.
Prop. 64 allows cities and counties to tax marijuana sales after a public vote.
In tandem with the prohibition on the sale, delivery and cultivation, councilmember Karen Rarey expressed concern that the city staff’s report on the issue used outdated data from the early 2000s, as well as a 2009 report from the California Police Chiefs Association that was in opposition to marijuana dispensaries.
Rarey pointed out that the California Police Chiefs Association reversed its position on dispensaries in 2014, along with the League of California Cities, and asked city staff to prepare a white paper with more current information.
“There are a lot of tax incentives and income to be made… We should look into what planning and permitting will be and what tax and compliance will be,” Rarey said.
Bryant added that he would want the white paper to also include information about the legalization of marijuana in the state of Colorado and its “unintended effects.”
The county of Contra Costa is looking into the permitting process itself and has designated a large swath of unincorporated East Contra Costa County as areas where they may permit small- to large-scale indoor and outdoor marijuana cultivation.
East County may remain an agricultural corridor whether its cities approve or not.
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