Pico Rivera approved a new temporary ban on commercial marijuana businesses in the city, about a month and a half before pot shops around the state officially become legal.
The city’s new ordinance adopted Tuesday bans recreational marijuana dispensaries and commercial operations — like cannabis distributors and manufacturers — for 45 days, according to a city staff report.
The ordinance also gives the Pico Rivera city council the option of extending the moratorium for up to two years.
The city already bans medical marijuana dispensaries — last year, city council members considered dropping those rules, but let the proposed ordinance opening the city to medical pot die during their meeting.
Marijuana businesses are still illegal in the state, regardless of the bans many other cities have implemented similar to Pico Rivera’s new rules. California’s marijuana industry does not become officially legal until Jan. 1, 2018, when businesses can begin receiving their licenses.
The state’s voters opted to legalize marijuana when they overwhelmingly voted for Prop. 64, otherwise known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, in November last year
Pico Rivera Mayor Bob Archuleta said the council took its action banning marijuana because city laws did not already “expressly prohibit” businesses selling the drug for recreational uses.
“This ordinance allows us more time to establish local control by the time licensing begins in the new year,” Archuleta said.
While Prop. 64 legalized marijuana, it gave cities leeway on many aspects of marijuana use, including legalization of outdoor cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and dispensaries.
City officials said the were worried about a surge in marijuana activity with the start of the new year and official legalization.
“It is foreseeable that commencing January 1, 2018, the city may see an immediate influx of unregulated non-medical marijuana uses,” Bobadilla said in a written statement.
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