On a 4-1 vote, tonight the Adelanto City Council approved an ordinance to allow medical marijuana grow facilities to operate within city limits. The law will be in effect in 30 days.
Approval of the ordinance took place only after numerous public hearings and changes. The city council worked diligently to balance the health and safety of its residents with the financial windfall the grow facilities represent for the cash-strapped city.
Initially, the ordinance was expected to be approved several months ago. But once it became obvious that Governor Jerry Brown had reached a compromise with the state legislature over medical marijuana regulation, city leaders postponed the vote until the three bills that comprise that compromise were signed into law by the governor and could be reviewed by legal counsel to assure the city would be in compliance with the new state laws.
Assembly Bills 243 and 266 and Senate Bill 643 set the framework for cities and counties to enact ordinances allowing for medical marijuana grow facilities while regulating the product. The bills require state and local licenses for all medical marijuana businesses.
The bills require regulatory oversight. Once established in 2018 California’s newly created Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation will oversee licensing and regulatory effort in conjunction with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Public Health.
The new regulations also allow cities and counties to place taxes for cultivation and retail on the ballot in addition to the sales tax they can now collect. Adelanto is expected to place such a measure on the Nov. 2016 ballot. When voters approve the new tax, Adelanto is expected to receive $2 million in new tax revenue annually.
Cities and counties can now charge fees to recoup regulation costs. Adelanto expects fees to be between $200,000 and $250,000 per grow facility annually.
Adelanto’s ordinance allows for indoor, fully-enclosed grow facilities only. All outdoor facilities remain banned within city limits.
Operators are required to apply for a permit and pay required fees. The permit will be valid for 12 months after issuance unless extended in writing by the city manager.
Growers can apply for a permit immediately but no later than 30 days from the date the ordinance was approved. The city manager then has seven days to complete reviews and reports.
The grow facilities will only be allowed in the Manufacturing/Industrial zoning designation in the industrial park, which comprises less than 1.5 square miles. Facilities will not be allowed with 2,500 feet of schools, churches, public parks, or daycare centers.
After debate over the number of permits to be issued, the council decided against setting a specific number. The council instead limited it to the number that could be reasonably accommodated within the designated zone, which allows for a variety in sizes of facilities.
Adelanto is the second Southern California city to approve grow facilities. Desert Hot Springs was the first. In that city, taxes were approved by the voters.