How the passage of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act affects the City of Turlock's current bans on the cultivation and sale of marijuana will be the focus of a special workshop in January.
Turlock has had a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in the city limits since 2007, and the City excluded from the zoning ordinance the cultivation of marijuana as an agricultural crop in April 2015.
In December 2015, the Council unanimously approved prohibitions on the cultivation of cannabis plants for personal medical marijuana use — something that is now void following the voter-approved Proposition 64.
The Marijuana Act provides that local governments can reasonably regulate, but cannot ban the personal indoor cultivation of up to six marijuana plants per private residence. This includes cultivation in a greenhouse that is on the property of the residence but not physically part of the home, as long as it is fully enclosed, secure, and not visible from a public space.
This is good news for the dozens of Turlockers who spoke out against the City's marijuana ban last December.
Lindsay Sexton, a 17-year-old ovarian cancer patient, addressed the City Council last year stating that the concentrated cannabis oils she takes under the supervision of Lakisha Jenkins, a doctor of Naturopathy, has helped minimize the negative effects of her chemotherapy treatments and allowed her to have a better quality of life.
"I would not be able to stand up here to plead my case if I didn't use these medicinal oils," said Sexton. "These oils are helping me be so much more than just the cancer."
Other citizens like David Halinga, who was injured on the job and relies on the cannabis plants he grows for medical marijuana use to alleviate his chronic pain, also spoke out against the City's bans.
"There's a lot of us that need it. I'm just looking for an affordable way and natural way to keep my quality of life up."
Turlock can choose to retain its bans on the commercial cultivation and retail sales of marijuana, however, it will come at a cost. If a city bans commercial cultivation, or personal outdoor cultivation, or retail sales of marijuana or marijuana products, it is ineligible to receive state grant monies funded through the new state excise taxes that take effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
By a margin of about 57 percent to 42 percent, voters passed Proposition 64 to make California the fifth state to legalize recreational pot. Californians over the age of 21 can now legally smoke and consume cannabis, as well as grow it at home. The proposition allows residents to legally possess up to an ounce of weed and grow six marijuana plants at home, and home cultivation must be done in a fully enclosed and secure way, such as inside a home. While it will be illegal to purchase marijuana plants before adult use sales begin, until then residents can “share,” meaning that if someone is already cultivating cannabis legally by way of a medical marijuana card, they can share a bud or clone with their friend so that they may grow as well.
Adult use sales of marijuana will not begin until Jan. 1, 2018, however, and will be highly regulated and heavily taxed. A 15 percent tax will be placed on the retail price of marijuana, and cultivation taxes will be excised for dispensaries as well. According to California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, the state could collect up to $1 billion in taxes a year, which under the proposition will go toward covering costs of administrating and enforcing the measure, as well as drug research, treatment and enforcement.
Adults may not smoke or ingest weed in public, though Proposition 64 will eventually allow for licensed on-site consumption. It’s still illegal to smoke marijuana and operate a vehicle, and exact protocols for determining if a driver is impaired by marijuana will be set out by the California Highway Patrol.
The City of Turlock's special meeting/workshop on Proposition 64 will be held at 5 p.m. Jan. 10 in the Yosemite Room at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.