Port Hueneme Medicinal Cannabis Ordinance

By Port Hueneme Mayor Tom Figg

Port Hueneme is challenged by a variety of factors that limit it’s economic development potential: (i) it’s the only city in Ventura County without direct highway access; (ii) one half of its retail market area is located in the Pacific Ocean; and (iii) it’s demographics do not support high-value, high-volume retailers. Consequently, Port Hueneme generates the least tax revenue (property, sales and hotel occupancy combined) per capita of all ten cities within the County. Lacking big-box outlets, auto dealerships and similar tax generating enterprises requires an unorthodox economic development strategy.

The emergence of cannabis provides a unique opportunity for the City to cultivate nontraditional revenue sources. California voters authorized medicinal marijuana in 1996 under Proposition 215, followed with the approval of cannabis for recreational purposes under Proposition 64 in 2016. The combined effect of these actions is to legitimize an emerging industry that is not reliant upon traditional market dynamics or locational criteria. This situation provides a unique opportunity for Port Hueneme to compensate for it’s disadvantages and uncompetitive edge in the traditional market place.

After six months of public meetings, workshops and hearings, the Port Hueneme City Council adopted a Medicinal Cannabis Ordinance on June 5th. The Council vote was 3-1 with Councilmember Sylvia Munoz Schnopp voting in opposition and Councilmember Jonathan Sharkey not in attendance. The Ordinance will become legally effective on July 5, 2017. Meanwhile, City staff and legal counsel have been tasked with developing an Implementing Resolution to specify application procedures, eligibility requirements and associated administrative matters.

In summary, the Ordinance is strictly limited to cannabis activities for medicinal purposes. Recreational use is not authorized at this time. Indoor cultivation is allowed for commercial purposes and personal consumption; however, outdoor cultivation is only permissible for single family properties. Cannabis activities (both commercial and personal) may only be authorized by a Certificate of Approval issued by the City. In addition, all commercial operations (regardless of location) are subject to a noticed public hearing so that nearby resident and business concerns are properly vetted.

Additionally, commercial cannabis activities are only be allowed within the R-4 (Mixed Use), C-1 (Commercial) and M-1 (Industrial) zones of the City and no closer than 600 feet from a school. Commercial operations must adhere to strict control measures including security, video surveillance, customer screening and odor control. Owners, operators and employees who engage in cannabis activities are also subject to background investigations, minimum age requirements and proven business acumen. For details, please visit: http://ci.port-hueneme.ca.us/index.aspx?nid=1050.

Tom Figg
Mayor, City of Port Hueneme
City of Port Hueneme
250 North Ventura Road
Port Hueneme, Ca 93041
(805) 377-9116
Attachment: Cannabis Newsletter (6-11-17)

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