Pasadena voters threw out the city’s current ban on cannabis dispensaries, with some 60 percent of voters choosing to reject the ban.
The push to lift the ban began with a citizen-led effort to get a measure on the November ballot. That proposed measure would have allowed dispensaries that are currently operating illegally to have a shot at legal permits — an idea of which City Council was not too fond.
Although the council would have preferred more time to work on a plan to legalize dispensaries, members agreed in February to put Measure CC on the June ballot to preempt the citizens’ effort. A key piece of the measure Pasadenans approved Tuesday is that currently operating dispensaries will not be considered for the six legal permits the ordinance would allow.
While the measure was not supported by the Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative and Government Affairs Committee because the group saw it as too restrictive, one dispensary the ordinance will prevent from obtaining a permit opted to endorse it.
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Shaun Szameit, president of the Golden State Collective, said in a phone interview that because the measure allows for future changes to the ordinance, he encouraged voters to approve it. The next step will be to push council members to allow dispensaries like his to legally operate.
“The council does have the ability to amend it,” he said. “I feel that, if we pass it, then we can get together and basically explain to the council what we feel needs to be amended.”
Mayor Terry Tornek did not respond to a request for comment.
The other weed-related item, Measure DD, passed with 75 percent. That measure will tax marijuana businesses at a 6 percent rate for retail businesses and a 4 percent rate for all other businesses. The city noted that at these rates, the measure will be “break-even.” Szameit said he believes the city could get voter approval for an even higher tax than the proposed 6 percent for retail businesses and 4 percent for all other cannabis businesses.
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