With the sale of recreational marijuana to be legal in California in January 2018, each city in the state can decide whether to opt out of that practice.
The city of Santa Clarita will discuss this on Tuesday. We urge the council to continue its moratorium on pot businesses until it can pass an ordinance permanently banning them.
The reasons for a no vote on commercializing pot in the city are overwhelming. First, a year-long study by city staff has brought convincing statistics that marijuana businesses would do more harm than good to our community. Second, allowing marijuana businesses in the city would send a wrong message to youth and would make a mockery of our local anti-drug programs. Third, the drug is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government.
City staff talked to their counterparts in three cities in Colorado, as well as with the Denver County District Attorney’s office to find out what their experiences with the business of marijuana has been since it was legalized in that state in 2012.
It hasn’t been good.
–Marijuana has not been a significant revenue producer for the cities contacted in Colorado. The cost of administration and enforcement exceeds the amount of revenue generated.
–Cities that have legalized marijuana have seen an increase in their homeless populations.
–There was a 145 percent increase in pot-related vehicle fatalities from 47 in 2013 to 115 in 2016 in Colorado.
The statewide legalization of pot allows Santa Clarita residents to smoke marijuana, but not in public places. It also lets residents cultivate no more than six living marijuana plants inside a private residence as long as the owner of the property provides written consent.
But the city should not be in the business of allowing or promoting the marijuana industry.
It just doesn’t make any sense.