Cannabis delivery services can drive through Santa Clarita, can’t deliver

Marijuana. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Earlier this year, the city of Santa Clarita formally prohibited commercial land uses associated with cannabis and regulating home cultivation.

But a loophole in enforcing this municipal law may soon exist —  if the California Bureau of Cannabis Control approves proposed regulations to allow marijuana delivery services to stop at any private address in the state regardless of city regulations.

Current state law allows cities to regulate business operations, but cities can’t stop actual delivery services, said Alex Traverso, spokesman for the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

Local jurisdictions can’t prohibit delivery of cannabis or cannabis products from using public roads, Traverso said.

“If somebody has the intent to deliver here in the city limits, they’d be in violation of our code,” said Danny Rivas, the city’s community preservation manager. “But if they were driving on the roadway through the city, then that’s not something that would be in violation.”

But the cannabis bureau is debating changes to state law that would allow any delivery service to deliver to any private address in the state, regardless of the municipal laws regarding cannabis businesses. The public comment period just ended, Rivas said, but no further action has been taken on whether those regulations would pass into law.

Legislation earlier this year, Senate Bill 1302, proposed allowing licensed businesses to deliver cannabis anywhere in California, but stalled in the Senate before the end of the legislative session.

Santa Clarita home growers in violation of the ordinance would have to pay fines of up to $500 or appear in court, as the current city law states.

The city ordinance was originally in response to Proposition 64, also known as the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative. The proposition legalized cannabis in 2018 for recreational use. But the licenses to sell marijuana are issued by the state if local jurisdictions allow them. The Santa Clarita City Council unanimously voted April 10 against doing so.

The proposition allows Californians to grow up to six cannabis plants for recreational use in their private residences, while the city ordinance establishes standards for home cultivation, such as prohibiting growth in spaces like backyards and balconies. Residents are also currently allowed to recreationally smoke within a private, enclosed and secured residence. No permits will be required to grow plants in secure and enclosed spaces, unless structural changes or electrical upgrades to accommodate home growth are required, said David Peterson, associate planner with the city’s Planning Division.

No businesses or individuals have been officially charged in violation of the new ordinances, including of cannabis delivery systems operating in Santa Clarita.

“We haven’t identified or addressed anybody since the passing of the ordinance who is in violation,” Rivas said. “There have been some reports to our code enforcement program and our officers have investigated, but we haven’t been able to confirm or observe any violations taking place as of today.”

No delivery systems have spoken to the city about potential services, he said.

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