With a March 1, 2016 deadline of a newly signed law approaching, the Oakdale City Council moved Monday, Dec. 21 to add the cultivation and delivery of medical marijuana to their already established ordinance banning marijuana dispensaries.
Last October, Governor Brown signed three bills allowing California cities local control to regulate the cultivation and delivery of medical marijuana within their jurisdiction. The bills, which take effect Jan. 1, 2016, require cities to take action by March 1, 2016 in order to maintain local control.
According to City Attorney Tom Hallinan, the City of Oakdale does not have land use rules regulating or prohibiting the cultivation of marijuana under its principles of permissive zoning.
Also, the Oakdale Municipal Code currently does not address the cultivation, processing, or delivery of medical marijuana. The proposed ordinance would amend the city’s municipal code to prohibit both the cultivation and delivery of medical marijuana.
By adopting the proposed ordinance, the city council ensures that local regulation of marijuana cultivation remains within the local control of the city as any other regulated activity – farm animals, land use, structures, local rules, etc.
Hallinan said that staff may propose additional ordinances in the future as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act continues to evolve.
City staff felt the need for the ban because several California cities have reported negative impacts of marijuana cultivation and distribution, including foul odors, masked illegal sales and distribution of marijuana, trespassing, theft, violent robberies and robbery attempts, fire hazards, and problems associated with mold, fungus, and pests.
In 1996 voters approved the Compassionate Use Act law of Proposition 215 approving the medical use of marijuana for patients with a doctor’s recommendation. While California law now permits the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, federal law still does not.
In January 2010, the California Supreme Court revised vague wording in the law and lifted many of the limits on medical marijuana. Presently within the state, medical marijuana users with a valid doctor’s recommendation may grow and possess as much marijuana as they require, provided that it is strictly for personal use.
In 2008, Oakdale joined Modesto, Riverbank, Ceres and Turlock in banning dispensaries fearing the city could become a magnet for criminal activity.
Police Chief Lester Jenkins said that after the ordinance is enacted, officers coming across violations of cultivation and transportation of medicinal marijuana would treat the offenses as city ordinance violations.
Potential violators still have to prove medicinal use and federal law still may apply in situations.
The measure to move the ordinance forward for approval was passed unanimously by the council.
At the conclusion of the council meeting, Mayor Pat Paul announced the next scheduled city council meeting on Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 was cancelled and the next scheduled meeting would be Jan 19, the Tuesday following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observance on Jan. 18.