State endangers local cannabis control, Woodlake issues opposition letter
Woodlake opposing AB 1356 over encroachment of local control, arbitrary liquor license to dispensary ratio
By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
WOODLAKE – Cities weary about commercial marijuana in 2016 could sleep well at night knowing they could control what businesses could come into town, and how many of them. It only took three years for the State to start taking those local controls away.
Last week Woodlake sent a letter to Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez who chairs the Assembly Committee on Appropriations airing their concerns over Assembly Bill 1356. As one of three cities in Tulare County that voted more than 50% in favor of Proposition 64 in 2016, Woodlake is in danger of losing the local control promised by the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) and Prop 64.
Last amended on Thursday, May 16, AB 1356 says that cities, counties or other local jurisdictions have to allow for one dispensary per six active alcohol licenses, or one dispensary per 15,000 residents. For Woodlake, they already have Valley Pure operating on Valencia Boulevard, and a second license waiting to be taken advantage of. Farmersville just issued three dispensary licenses and Lindsay is in the process of constructing their ordinances to make way for dispensaries in their commercial district.
Woodlake rightfully pointed out in their letter that this strips away the important local control, as well as dual licenses principals established by MAUCRSA.
“By removing local governments’ ability to regulate brick and mortar retail cannabis shops, AB 1356 undermines the very foundation of local control and thereby negates the primary purpose of California’s established dual licensing structure,” the letter stated.
The letter points out as well, that tearing down local control over how many licenses a jurisdiction wants to allow posing problems in unincorporated parts of the county nearest cities.
“The City is concerned that this bill would force the City to approve additional cannabis retail sites that the City cannot reasonably manage,” the letter stated. “The City is also concerned that this bill would result in numerous unlicensed and unmonitored retail sites in nearby unincorporated areas.”
AB 1356’s currently legislation gives no reason to the 1-in-6 ratio currently placed in the text. And Woodlake points that out as well.
“This is simply no nexus between a city’s regulation of citizens’ access to retail commercial cannabis and the number of liquor establishments within a community,” the letter stated. “By requiring such a ratio, AB 1356 proposes and arbitrary land use standard for individual cities and counties based on the results of a statewide ballot measure.”
The City ended their letter by stating that AB 1356 would ultimately strip cities and counties of the ability to decide what is appropriate for their communities. They add that this is a direct contradiction to the framework understood by the voters when approving Prop 64.
The remaining five cities in the county, Dinuba, Exeter, Porterville, Tulare and Visalia had between six and 10 point differences in 2016 when it came to Prop 64, essentially exempting them for the bill. Unincorporated Tulare County had the largest margin of defeat with 59% voting “No” on the proposition.
AB 1356 passed through the Assembly Appropriations Committee on a 10 to 7 vote on May 16.