Garden Grove City Council members Tuesday approved an ordinance banning local cultivation and delivery of marijuana, but signaled they would reconsider the city’s ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in the near future.
With Tuesday’s action, Garden Grove joined a wave of cities approving ordinances banning the cultivation and delivery of marijuana before a March 1 deadline that would forfeit local regulation to a state agency.
A number of medical marijuana advocates — including several young veterans and the father of a three-year-old — urged the council not to move forward with the ordinance, which they viewed as further restricting patient access to medical marijuana.
Representatives of C3 Patients Association, a Garden Grove-based nonprofit that produces Idrasil (a cannabis tablet that is only available by prescription and is delivered to patients via mail) said the ordinance would make it illegal for them to continue operating in Garden Grove.
“We get reimbursed by insurance, by workers compensation, we have no foot traffic, we do everything by PS [Postal service],” said C3 Director Theresa Smith. “We do love Garden Grove and we would like to pay taxes here.”
Council members made it clear that the broadening of the ban was a temporary maneuver to maintain local control and said they would reconsider whether to have a ban at all in the near future.
However, a lifting of the ban is not guaranteed as both Councilmen Phat Bui and Steve Jones expressed concerns about public nuisance issues including complaints about the smell of pot around dispensaries.
Mayor Bao Nguyen, who is in favor of rescinding the city’s 2008 ban on dispensaries and allowing them to operate in the city under strict regulations, asked city staff to begin researching the process of implementing a regulatory scheme and establishing a timeline for placing an item on the 2016 ballot.
The new ordinance on cultivation is scheduled for a second reading on Jan. 26.
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