Action at Monday night’s Escalon City Council meeting saw the panel, by a 5-0 vote, adopt an ‘urgency ordinance’ regarding Proposition 64, which was on the ballot on Tuesday, Election Day.
If Prop 64 – marijuana legalization – passed, the Interim Urgency Ordinance Banning Recreational Marijuana would give the council time to assess how best to proceed, providing a 45-day window in which to consider its options.
“There are provisions within Prop 64 that allow local governments to establish regulations or ban certain provisions such as dispensaries, delivery services, any recreational marijuana retail sells, and outdoor cultivation,” City Manager Tammy Alcantor explained.
Escalon Police Chief Mike Borges said most communities in San Joaquin County, with the exception of Stockton, currently ban marijuana outright, but depending on the outcome of the Prop 64 vote, those communities could be scrambling to address a new set of issues.
For Escalon, the chief said approving the Urgency Ordinance gives the council some breathing room.
“We already allow medical marijuana grows indoors, just not outdoors,” the chief said, adding that there are specific guidelines that must be met for those medicinal grows. “Prop 64 allows for indoor growing up to six plants and it would make it legal for possession of an ounce by people 21 and older. It doesn’t allow juveniles or anyone under the age of 21 to possess marijuana.”
If the proposition failed, the urgency ordinance will be a moot point, the chief said, but the action by the council serves as ‘insurance’ in the event it did pass.
“There are a lot of things to look at,” noted Borges, pending passage of the initiative. “Do you want to have the retail establishments in the community and for sales, how do you set that up? Plus not all the taxes will come back to the community, very little if any will, the way the initiative is set up.”
While the urgency ordinance allows for a 45-day ban, Borges said it also includes a provision for the council to extend that ban.
“It can be extended for another 45 days, time for the council to get the pulse of the community itself,” said the chief.
Alcantor said pending Prop 64 approval, the ordinance will give council members the chance “to consider, study, and enact regulations or bans for personal marijuana cultivation uses and define potential impacts such land uses may have to the public health, safety, and welfare.”
During the period while the interim ordinance is in effect, Alcantor added, it will restrict marijuana dispensaries, cultivation, and delivery of marijuana, and any personal outdoor marijuana cultivation.
“If it doesn’t pass it’s a moot point,” the chief reiterated. “If it does pass then we have to look at what the community wants.”
In other business at their Nov. 7 session, council members authorized Alcantor to sign a funding agreement for a new street sweeper, with the city receiving funds to replace a current outdated one with a diesel model.
The council also approved six building permit allocations for single family dwellings to be built on existing vacant lots and adopted the updated San Joaquin Multi-Species Habitat Conservation and Open Space Plan fees.