According to an article posted at Leafly.com, a cannabis industry website, seven people were hospitalized after using unregulated cannabis vaporizer cartridges tainted with a potentially deadly lung toxin. Every week there are reports of people who have experienced negative reactions to unregulated cannabis products.
This unsafe situation is exacerbated by the proliferation of cannabis bans passed by many California cities. In 2016, voters approved Proposition 64 which allowed for recreational cannabis use and in 1996, voters passed Proposition 215 allowing for medicinal cannabis use.
If the voters of the State of California have said yes to cannabis, why do many cities continue to say no?
State offers help navigating new law
The State has made efforts to help cities and counties deal with the newly legal industry. However, because there is still a federal prohibition on cannabis, there are challenges for those in the cannabis industry, namely handling an all-cash business. The State has adapted its collection systems for taxes; the State Treasurer’s Office and the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration have planned to accept cash as payment.
In North San Diego County, the cities of Oceanside and Vista have taken steps to allow for cannabis businesses in their jurisdictions. Both cities could have done a much better job with their initial processes, but at least they are taking the steps. Oceanside recently expanded its program by increasing the number of cultivation licenses – from 5 to 12 – and will be discussing a tax measure and possibly storefront dispensaries in the near future.
Cannabis Regulation Benefits Cities
It’s time for cities to understand proper regulatory measures will allow for a safe and productive cannabis experience for their residents. Siskyou County wants Governor Newsom to declare a state of emergency because of the number of unregulated, illegal cannabis grows. As Nicole Elliott, the governor’s cannabis czar suggested via Twitter “A friendly reminder to the Siskiyou Board of Supervisors, if you regulate commercial cannabis activity (vs. ban), not only do you create legal & regulated pathways for these grows, you’d also be eligible for the FY 19/20 $26M in Prop 64 enforcement grants.”
We agree with Ms. Elliott.