By Brian CHERNICK
Glendale City Council members have yet to decide how to implement the recent passage of California’s marijuana legalization and are calling on residents to provide their opinions, feedback and suggestions.
Last year’s November election saw the passage of Proposition 64 – the Adult Use of Marijuana Act – by a sizable margin with 57.1% voting in favor and the remaining 42.9% voting against. Glendale voters mirrored a similar result with 54% voting in favor of the proposition that legalizes the recreational use of marijuana and establishes taxes on sales and cultivation.
The council is now tasked with deciding how to best implement the new state law and is looking for residents’ input on how they would like the city to respond.
Glendale has historically had strong prohibitions on medical marijuana dispensaries, barring the establishment of any businesses that provided medical access to the drug despite the state having laws allowing its sale. The city will have to decide whether to continue its current prohibition on marijuana-related activities and uses – by adopting a new ordinance that expressly bans the establishment of recreational marijuana businesses – or adopt local law enforcement practices that will “allow some limited activities and uses.”
Already the city has held events to garner feedback from citizens, hosting its most recent one earlier this year at a community meeting. The meeting reflected the voting results in November with attendees supporting the bill’s passage requesting that local dispensaries be allowed, focusing on the economic and health benefits of allowing the businesses to exist within the city limits.
Those in opposition expressed concerns with ease of access for those under 21 years of age and possible increased health issues. These sentiments have been reflected in more recent city council meetings during oral communication where a few vocal members in the minority have expressed similar sentiments as those in the community meeting.
Paula Shapiro shared her experience with the drug during her years in college in the late ’60s when she found herself becoming “degraded” as a person as she moved from marijuana to hash to LSD. She decided she no longer wanted to be involved with marijuana.
The proposition does not remove the prohibition of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence; however, Shapiro expressed worries of the dangers with intoxicated drivers in the city and said it might be harder for police officers to detect marijuana than alcohol on a driver.
A private security employer told the council he was concerned about more concentrated strains of the drug causing people to become highly intoxicated and making his job potentially more dangerous.
The city council will have to provide direction for law enforcement and businesses before the beginning of next year when the law comes into full effect. Currently the city plans on announcing its plans sometime during the summer or fall.
In the meantime the council is continuing to encourage individuals to express their opinion on the matter either through the survey function at www.prop64education.org, in writing, over the phone or during oral communication at a city council meetings which are held Tuesdays at 6 p.m.