Walnut Creek Mayor's Message By Justin Wedel
Jun 10, 2018 09:33PM
● By Elena Hutslar
Cannabis- Developing a Comprehensive Regulatory Framework
Prior to the November 2016 election, the Walnut Creek City Council was one of the few municipalities to officially oppose Proposition 64, the proposition legalizing the use of recreational cannabis; however, the people of this great city have chosen a different direction. Sixty-two percent of Walnut Creek voted to approve the proposition, and every precinct in Walnut Creek voted in support of the proposition.
In addition to legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, the proposition provided a wide range of options to local legislators in determining how to implement the policy at a local community level. For example, while communities are prevented from regulating an individual’s use of cannabis on private property, possession (to the legal limit), and the growth of six plants in a residence, municipalities could allow or prevent the actual sale, delivery, manufacturing, testing, and/or commercial growing operations.
Since the passage of Proposition 64 legalizing recreational cannabis, the Walnut Creek City Council has been working hard to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework necessary for a controlled and safe implementation of the will of the people. To provide adequate time for deliberation, the council - like many other city councils in California - chose to place a complete moratorium on the implementation.
The pause provided the council time to deliberate, gather public input, and complete a public survey designed to confirm which item(s) of the proposition the community would like to see implemented. The survey results closely mirrored the election results, with 62 to 64 percent of the survey respondents essentially preferring a full implementation of the proposition.
During the presentation of the survey results, some council members voiced concerns ranging from public safety, second-hand smoke, and driving under the influence. Accordingly, the council provided direction to staff to develop an ordinance allowing only non-storefront medical delivery and outdoor grows on single-family residences. All other activities – storefront (medical and recreational), outdoor grows in multi-family residences, testing, manufacturing, and commercial grow operations -- would be prohibited by law.
Since receiving direction from the council, staff has been diligently developing the ordinance and reviewing it with city commissions prior to bringing it to the city council potentially for approval. As such, on June 19, the Walnut Creek City Council is scheduled to have the first public hearing, which will be the first of two meetings necessary to implement the approved regulatory framework.
Independent of your Prop 64 vote, your response to the survey, or your thoughts on this issue, the decisions made during this council meeting will have an affect on our community. I encourage all residents and community members to educate yourselves, inform your neighbors and friends, and come to the city council meeting to participate and make your voices heard.