Garden Grove Expands Pot Ban, but Might Reconsider

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.

Contact Thy Vo at or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

  • Roderick Powell

    Bao Nguyen served his purpose. (knocking Broadwater off the council) However due to his poor performance as Mayor he has opened the door for Broadwater to return…look for this to happen) Garden Grove is the perfect place for criminal drug dealers to abuse the medical marijuana initiative. There is not one city council member who would get my vote. Can’t anyone see that medical marijuana is a sham that is being used by pot advocates and pot profiteers. Potheads have no manners. They impose the stink of pot on others. Case closed! Put them on an island, there’s your answer.

  • Jacki Livingston

    I find it hilarious that a city known for having some of the sleaziest bars in the OC gets puritanical about a substance that is far less harmful than alcohol, or even cigarettes. Just another example of backwards ‘thinking’ that is so typical of the OC.

  • Ladya Aloe

    They’d make enough in taxes to get rid of the metal monstrosity on GG Blvd.

  • Paul Lucas

    This is going to wind down slowly over time. The benefits of allowing dispensaries in town vs the costs and consequences of banning them will turn the tide. Shortly after some municipalities start making lots of tax revenues and post the results many cities will follow their lead and allow dispensaries. It is at each municipalities peril to miss the boat so to speak.

    • Roderick Powell

      Paul, surely you can’t deny that better than 90% of the people who go to these so called medical pot places are just plain potheads. Surely you can’t deny that? Yes a very small amount of people are actually supposed to get pot as per the law that changed almost 20 years ago. How has it changed to this. MONEY is certainly the top reason.

      • Paul Lucas

        Rod, even dr bob and bill were opposed to prohibition because of the damage it did.

        • Roderick Powell

          Recreational usage of pot being legal or not is a separate thing from the abuse of the so-called medicinal use of pot. Wait and see if pot gets voted legal, how many people who “need” this medicinal pot”…won’t need it anymore. They won’t call it medicinal anymore either. The big lie will be over. Unless, of course insurance covers pot prescriptions…Can’t you here the pot user saying, “dude, my insurance covers my pot, other than a small co-pay.”

          • Paul Lucas

            I think it should be covered by insurance but I doubt it would be as liberal as you fear. I also hate when people with no serious medicinal need for cannabis claim the same status as myself or others who would suffer adverse physical effects sans cannabis. But I think that will be addressed within the next 5 years. At present patients are immune from many taxes but not all taxes related to cannnabis.

  • LFOldTimer

    I have no idea why they take this position in 2016. Don’t they realize that by doing so they’re just perpetuating a failed drug war that costs millions of dollars and thousands of lives? I understand why we can’t legalize the dangerous stuff – meth, coke, heroin – even though the US government has turned a blind eye to the prosperous poppy cultivations in Afghanistan. Some drugs truly are dangerous and need strict regulation. But not weed. What GG has done is a victory for the cartels (and for the cops via asset seizures). Hopefully someday common sense will prevail as opposed to reefer madness. Full disclosure: Not a pot smoker. Never have been.