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Mayor's Message Martinez

Dec 06, 2017 10:11AM ● By Rob Schroder

The Year in Review

The older I get the faster the years go by. It seems like it was only a few weeks ago that summer was winding down and our kids were going back to school. Now, all of a sudden, the holidays are upon us, and soon I will be writing 2017 instead of 2018. (It always takes me at least a month to get the new year right.)

With the New Year, California’s new cannabis law (Prop 64) and new regulations will take effect. The new law legalizes the adult use of cannabis for everyone 21 and over. It also provides for some local control of the growing, transporting, and selling of cannabis and merges the regulations for medicinal and adult use. Local agencies have the right to ban any or all commercial cannabis business activity in the city.

The new state law also grants the personal right to cultivate up to six plants per residence. The law also states cultivation is subject to reasonable local regulations, outdoor cultivation can be prohibited, primary use of the property must be for a residence, and it must comply with building and construction codes. Also, the use of gas products or generators for cultivation is prohibited.

A few years ago, Martinez banned the cultivation of cannabis after neighbors in several neighborhoods complained of strong “skunky” odors permeating the air for blocks in each direction. More recently, the city council adopted urgency ordinances that banned the outdoor cultivation of medicinal and adult use cannabis. In mid-November, the city council approved a total ban of all commercial cannabis activities except for pending medical cannabis dispensaries. This ban sunsets in November of 2018.

There has been strong support for the legalization of cannabis in Martinez. Prop 64 passed with a statewide support of 56%, with 63.44% of Martinez voters saying yes. Some have criticized the city for passing a complete ban with such a large majority of voting residents supporting legalization. That is exactly why the ban will expire next year. We are hitting the “pause” button to give us time to craft a regulatory ordinance that works for Martinez. Without a local ordinance crafted and adopted prior to the January 2, 2018, state deadline, we would lose our ability to control and regulate cannabis growing, transporting, and sale.

Marina dredging was recently completed, with 32,000 cubic yards of siltation removed and pumped into the spoils basis to the east of Waterfront Park. The last large Measure H project is well underway, with most of Waterfront Park surrounded by construction fencing and construction equipment. The planned completion date for the ballfields is June 1, 2018, which is also opening day for Martinez’ new professional baseball team, the Martinez Clippers.

The final Measure H projects, which include Golden Hills, Highland, John Muir, and Alhambra Avenue Parks, are under preliminary design, with meetings for more public input planned for next month.

Paving projects all over the city are wrapping up and will resume after the winter rains. Monies from the recently approved ½ cent sales tax, dedicated to roads and streets, is starting to come in, and project scoping will start early next year. 

My final note is to be sure to bring the family downtown Martinez and enjoy the downtown holiday ice rink. The rink will be open daily through January 7.