LA VERNE — City leaders took a step this week intended to establish regulations in La Verne involving recreational marijuana.

City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to give preliminary approval to a proposed ordinance that calls for the repeal of the portion of La Verne’s existing municipal code containing regulations pertaining to medical marijuana.

[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section” curated_ids=””]Under the proposed ordinance the portion of the municipal code would be replaced with a new one addressing “all types of marijuana activity,” Eric Scherer, La Verne’s acting community development director, said Wednesday.

The proposal calls for a ban on all commercial cannabis activities within the city along with medical marijuana dispensaries and other related activities and seeks to “impose reasonable regulations on personal cultivation in private residences and accessory structures,” according to a copy of the proposed ordinance.

Medical marijuana dispensaries have been banned in the city since January 2016, Scherer said.

Local governments around the state are preparing for Jan. 1, 2018 when the state will begin to oversee recreational marijuana operations.

California voters approved Proposition 64, also known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, on Nov. 8, 2016. Under Proposition 64, it became legal the day after the election for people 21 and older to use marijuana and cultivate a maximum of six marijuana plants per residence.

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In about three and a half months, on Jan. 1, 2018, it will be up to the state to oversee the cultivation, testing and distribution of nonmedical marijuana and the manufacturing of nonmedical marijuana products.

Cities wishing to establish rules to regulate recreational marijuana businesses within their city limit must take action before Jan. 1.

If a city does not establish local regulations it is “going to follow state law and it’s not as strict,” said Collin Wahab, La Verne associate planner, during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The proposed ordinance contains details as to the place and conditions where the cannabis plants can grow.

Under the proposed ordinance those wishing to cultivate cannabis for personal use would be required to obtain a permit from the city’s Community Development Department and pay any fees that may be set by the City Council, according to a city staff report.

If the person applying for the permit owns the home where he intends to grow the cannabis he must present proof of owning the home, but if the applicant is not the home’s owner he must present a copy of the lease or rental agreement along with a signed statement from the owner authorizing the cultivation of the cannabis plants, the staff report reads.

Marijuana would have to be cultivated indoors, either within the individual’s residence or within a fully enclosed accessory building on the property, the staff report reads.

Marijuana plants and any marijuana in excess of 28.5 grams produced by the plants must be kept in a locked space of the residence.

City Council members asked if light coming from lighting systems used as part of cultivating marijuana would consist of a violation of local rules if it was visible from the right-of-way.

A member of the city attorney’s office said such a situation would consist of a violation since the plants should be grown in a discreet manner.

The proposed ordinance is expected to return to the City Council for a final vote at its Sept. 18 meeting.