Supes to consider marijuana moratorium, ordinance changes

File photo. Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. Dan Watson/The Signal

Kathryn Barger, Santa Clarita’s County Supervisor, is proposing a moratorium on marijuana cultivation, manufacture, retail sale and other pot-related endeavors, like the kind the city has enacted – this one to apply to unincorporated areas of the county “until the County adopts a comprehensive regulatory framework for medical and nonmedical marijuana.”

Barger’s motion is one of two matters on Tuesday’s Los Angeles County supervisors’ agenda that relates to marijuana regulation, as the county begins to grapple with the November passage by voters of Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana in the state.

Prop 64 “opened a hornet’s nest” for county and local governments over a wide range of regulation issues regarding recreational marijuana, Barger’s spokesman, Tony Bell, said Monday.

Barger’s motion would basically hit the pause button until the county – like municipalities throughout the state – can sort through a huge range of regulatory issues covering public safety, law enforcement, zoning, land use, the environment, taxation and other areas, and then come up with applicable ordinances or ordinance amendments.

The second pot-related matter on Tuesday’s agenda addresses that wide range of ordinance amendments that will be needed to regulate marijuana under the new Prop 64 reality.

Co-sponsored by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Janice Hahn, that second proposal would begin the process of “stakeholder engagement with community members from each Supervisorial District to assist the County in reviewing appropriate medical and commercial cannabis regulations and best practices …”

Barger’s moratorium, “bans the cultivation, manufacture, processing, testing, transportation, and retail sale of medical and nonmedical marijuana in the unincorporated territory of the County until the County adopts a comprehensive regulatory framework for medical and nonmedical marijuana,’’ according to Tuesday’s agenda.

It also “sets reasonable regulations for personal cultivation of medical and nonmedical marijuana, including but not limited to provisions ensuring that the cultivation shall not be visible from the public right-of-way, an appropriate limit on the total number of plants which may be cultivated for personal use in any one dwelling unit and on a single parcel, and a maximum height for individual plants.’’

“(Barger) is concerned that this (Prop 64) is bad public policy in the first place, but there still needs to be an ordinance that addresses common sense and the letter of the law,” Bell, her spokesman, said, reiterating Barger’s opposition to Prop 64.

Bell also pointed out that Barger’s District Five is the most rural of L.A. County’s five supervisorial districts, and hence has “proximity to land most affected” by Prop 64’s passage.

Santa Clarita’s City Council in January extended a city moratorium through the end of 2017 on most non-medical marijuana activities as the city studies all manner of Prop 64-related ramifications, as well as examines how other cities are handling the issue. The city currently does not allow medical marijuana shops.

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