San Bernardino Marijuana Dispensary Vote Seems Likely

San Bernadino voters seem likely to weigh in on a proposal to allow up to five medical marijuana dispensaries in the city limits, after the city clerk advised council her office had received 6,000 signatures in favor of a November ballot initiative. That figure is 2,326 more signatures than needed by statute (30 percent of votes cast for all candidates in the previous mayoral election), but the city clerk’s office first needs to verify those signatures before it becomes official. cannabisflower1

The proposal has been outlined by the California Cannabis Coalition, which has opined a measure allowing marijuana dispensaries would bring the city up to 800 jobs one which people could make a living wage. It is also estimated the proposal could boost the city’s general fund by somewhere between $15 million and $21 million a year.

Supporters say the San Bernadino Regulate Marijuana Act of 2016, if approved, would allow for medical marijuana to enter a legitimate, well-regulated market that will offer transparency and accountability. 

Revenue generated from the measure, say the backers, will not only cover its own administrative expenses, but will drum up additional funds the city could use to promote public health initiatives, invest in youth education and treatment of substance abuse, put toward training local law enforcement in understanding the new law and identifying stoned drivers and cutting down on black market sales of the drug.

The proposed act spans 14 pages, though it doesn’t exactly spell out how it generated the numbers it did. If voters approved it, San Bernadino marijuana dispensaries would first need to a business license for legal operation, and those would go for $250. Other fees could be tacked on based on the type of license, the total square footage of the operation and other features. The act stipulates certain requirements for each dispensary that takes into account elements such as:

Hours of operation;

  • Location;
  • Security;
  • Signs;
  • Lighting;
  • Smell.

The City of San Bernadino has had a ban on dispensaries that dates back five years. A number of initiatives have been proposed since then that would replace the ban and allow for legal medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. However, every single one of them has been staunchly opposed by city council – including Mayor Carey Davis.

But city leaders may be sensing a shift in public opinion on the issue, and is working to maintain control of how this all plays out. The San Bernadino legislative review committee is hammering out its own possible regulatory framework that, if approved by council, would replace the ban – and the need for any ballot initiative.

There are a number of fierce medical marijuana supporters who say they have reservations about the proposal by the California Cannabis Coalition, which was compiled without input from city residents and other pro-marijuana advocates.

Meanwhile, an initiative is on the statewide ballot that, if approved, would allow medical marijuana to be grown, sold and possessed for recreational purposes, and not just by those with a doctor-signed prescription, as four other states plus the District of Columbia have done.

Still, the drug remains a Schedule I narcotic, still considered illegal under federal law.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:

San Bernadino: Signatures Submitted for Marijuana Legalization, By Ryan Hagen, The Press Enterprise

More Blog Entries:

Placentia Council Nixes Pot Shops in Sudden About-Face, June 17, 2016, San Bernadino Marijuana Lawyer Blog