Cannabis delivery is legal in California, but Santa Clarita must first review rules

Marijuana. Katharine Lotze/Signal
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California regulators approved legalizing cannabis deliveries anywhere in the state last week, but cities that ban marijuana sales, like Santa Clarita, can still have their say on prohibition of cannabis availability.

The new marijuana regulations officially took effect Jan. 16, meaning millions of people in the state are just a phone call away from having marijuana delivered straight to their doorstep.

As a result of the state’s decision, Santa Clarita will have to examine the state’s changes and amend its own cannabis standards.

David Peterson, an associate planner with the city’s planning division, said, “This just got issued so we are currently reviewing the changes in order to best decide what we will do.”

Currently in Santa Clarita, under Municipal Code 17.51.005 (a), “the sale, cultivation, manufacturing, testing or delivery of cannabis or products containing cannabis, are prohibited.”

Earlier last year, the city formally prohibited commercial land uses associated with marijuana and regulating home cultivation, but a loophole in enforcing this municipal law now exists as the recent approval of the regulation allows licensed retailers to “…deliver cannabis goods to a physical address in California,” according to text of the regulation.

“Delivery is legal and cities and counties can’t prevent this from happening,” said Alex Traverso, assistant chief of communications with the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

More specifically, cities cannot stop delivery services from using public roads and entering local jurisdictions that have a ban on sales. Before the new regulation, businesses would be in violation of Santa Clarita’s code if they intended to deliver within city limits, according to city officials. Delivery services could only pass through using roads, or face fines of up to $500 or appear in court.

That’s no longer the case, now.

What cities can do, however, is “allow what they want to allow,” said Traverso. “Cities and counties can still say, ‘We are not licensing businesses or allow storefronts and retail.’”

For example, Peterson said, “If you’re a retailer that’s licensed in Los Angeles, you could, under new law, deliver to Santa Clarita. People can now, in Santa Clarita, receive deliveries of cannabis to their address but that doesn’t change the other prohibitions of the ordinance.”    

The previous system forced delivery businesses to make up intricate routes, indicating to drivers where they could and could not drive in order to stay in compliance.

Cannabis business advocates applaud the decision as many see the change as an opportunity to extend their services across California, as well as help decrease black-market cannabis sales. Critics, including the League of California Cities, say that allowing deliveries to locales with a ban worsens crime and abrades local government.

Traverso said there are still questions from the public regarding the new regulations but the Bureau of Cannabis Control will work on providing guidance to easily digest information for local jurisdictions, businesses and the general public.

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