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Council Extends Ban On Prop 64 Marijuana

If Escalon had been the determining factor in whether or not marijuana was legalized in the November election, Prop 64 would have failed.

That, according to Escalon Police Chief Mike Borges, who said the results released regarding voters that cast ballots in the city show that 46 percent were in favor of legalizing marijuana, 54 percent were opposed.

Members of the Escalon City Council heard that news on Thursday night and also extended a ban on marijuana for another 45 days, essentially giving themselves a buffer in order to determine how best to proceed. Borges said the city has a number of options for how to deal with the passage of Prop 64, which allows for a certain number of plants to be grown and for adults to legally possess a certain amount of marijuana.

The council approved the extension of the Interim Emergency Ordinance they first adopted back in November, the day before Election Day, which took effect immediately with the statewide voter approval of the marijuana initiative on Nov. 8.

Borges said approval of the extension will give the city time to set up a workshop and to get additional input from council members and the public regarding the proposition and Escalon’s response to it.

City Attorney Ann Siprelle said the city does have several extensions of the 45-day period available, basically providing them with another 22 months to determine their course of action.

“A lot of cities I know of have enacted bans,” Borges said of several surrounding Central Valley communities opting to prohibit the growth and possession of pot altogether within their city limits.

“I think this is a very important piece of data,” councilman Robert Swift noted. “It would have failed (statewide) based on our (city) vote.”

Borges said that is something to take into consideration when drafting the city’s response.

“This is an educational phase for everyone involved, especially those in the criminal justice system,” admitted Borges.

Siprelle said the city does have the right to “ban everything” if they so choose. Borges said he is currently scheduled to attend a Feb. 8 seminar on the ramifications of Prop 64. The council was also informed that the next time it could be on the agenda for another 45-day extension, should they choose to do that, will be on Jan. 17.

The council voted 5-0 to extend the emergency ordinance.