Merced, Livingston and Los Banos will look at ordinances this week that would regulate the sale, growth and delivery of medical marijuana within each city’s respective borders.
California led the nation in legalizing marijuana for medical use, and a trio of bills aimed at bringing order and oversight to the state’s medical marijuana industry won Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature in October, pushing cities to make local changes if they would continue to prohibit it.
The first statewide licensing and operating rules for pot growers, manufacturers of cannabis-infused products and retail weed stores would give commercial operations the ability to sell in the state unless city ordinances specifically prohibit it.
Three Merced County cities will talk this week about their ordinances, which will require an opportunity for public comment at each city council meeting:
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After city staff initially proposed a ban on all cultivation and sales of cannabis, Merced’s Planning Commission in December recommended the city loosen up restrictions.
The commission voted unanimously to have staff draw up an ordinance that would allow dispensaries and delivery businesses to set up in designated areas, and would allow residents with marijuana cards to grow up to 12 plants per parcel, aligning the city with Merced County’s ordinance for unincorporated properties.
The City Council gets the final say on Monday. The council has scheduled a medical cannabis study session at 5:15 p.m. Monday followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m. at Merced City Hall, 678 W. 18th St.
In Livingston, the proposed ordinance would allow for growth and delivery, but ban dispensaries.
Residents with a medical marijuana card would be allowed to grow up to six plants indoors, according to records. The ordinance would allow for deliveries up to 8 ounces.
Livingston’s public hearing is set for its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 1416 C St.
Los Banos’ ordinance would be an outright ban on all growing, selling and delivering of cannabis within city limits.
The city has done what it can to keep dispensaries out of town. In summer 2010, Hollister-based Purple Cross Rx set up a dispensary in city limits. Code enforcement officers fined the shop multiple times per week to the tune of $500 a pop until the shop closed about six months later.
The public hearing on the cannabis ordinance is set during the regular meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Los Banos City Hall, 520 J St.