The Fullerton City Planning Commission voted Wednesday to declare its intention to amend the city’s Municipal Code regarding cannabis sales.
Originally, the planning commission was going to vote on a resolution of intent on whether or not they would prohibit recreational marijuana dispensaries citywide. However, the commission instead chose to declare it would make amendments once other options were offered by the city staff.
“The original ordinance was to prohibit any land uses in the city of Fullerton, period. And what the change was, was to come back with two revisions,” said Fullerton Planning Commissioner Kevin Pendergraft. “One of them (was) to the code that would (prohibit marijuana land use) and another one that may have some alternatives for the planning commission to look at.”
The 2008 ordinance states that medical marijuana dispensaries are prohibited in the city. While the ordinance makes no mention of recreational marijuana dispensaries, it does state that any uses are to be considered unpermitted if not already listed as so.
While Proposition 64, passed in 2017, legalizes recreational marijuana, it does not override the power cities have to restrict zoning to dispensaries.
“It ties into things like zoning,” said Cal State Fullerton associate professor of political science Matthew Jarvis. “Cities have this zoning ability to control, in a sense, what goes on within their borders.”
With this resolution, the planning commission will wait until a new resolution has been drawn up, giving them the option to prohibit recreational marijuana land use, or to allow and regulate it. Once the new resolution is approved by the planning commission, it will head to Fullerton City Council for a first reading. However, some members of Fullerton City Council have concerns.
“The city should prohibit recreational production, manufacturing and distribution of marijuana in the city of Fullerton,” said Councilwoman Jennifer Fitzgerald. “It’s currently against federal law… Banks don’t allow that kind of business banking, so it’s an all cash business and that makes it extremely problematic for our police, and I believe it’ll create more public safety issues.”