City council renews cannabis ban

The Susanville City Council extended an interim-urgency ordinance prohibiting cannabis activities within the city limits, essentially banning most cannabis activities through November 2019.

The interim ordinance, which was due to expire Jan. 20, prohibits such activities to the extent to which the city is allowed to prohibit cannabis activities by state law. The city council is authorized to enact the ordinance by Government Code Section 65858, and a four-fifths vote of the council is required to adopt the interim ordinance at a properly noticed hearing. According to the city, the interim ordinance allows the city council time to consider and potentially adopt regulations pertaining to cannabis activities within the city.

Absent local regulation, cannabis activities could have been permitted within the city limits January 2018, by way of the state licensing process. In response, in November of 2017, the city enacted the interim ordinance after changes in state law resulted in the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation Safety Act which allows the state to issue licenses and permits related to the sale and distribution of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.

According to the city’s documents, a sub-committee was formed due to the complexity of the item and variety of regulatory options available.

However, interim city administrator Dan Newton mentioned that, in light of the approval of Measure M, the Cannabis Business Tax, the city and county should work cooperatively in terms of the groundwork and discussions for allowable cannabis activities.

Cannabis activities, as defined in the interim-urgency ordinance, are “to be interpreted broadly to include any one or more of the following: The cultivation, possession, manufacture, distribution, processing, storing, laboratory testing, labeling, transportation, distribution, delivery or sale of cannabis and cannabis products.”

However, under section 5 of the ordinance, “the personal non-commercial cultivation for personal use of up to six cannabis plants within a private residence as described in Health and Safety Code Section 11362.2(a) shall not be prohibited by this ordinance, but the city may develop and enact reasonable regulations to regulate such activity as provided in Health and Safety Code 11362.2(b)(1).”

It was also mentioned during the Nov. 7 city council meeting, that the transportation of cannabis on public highways, streets and roads could not be prohibited.