Simi Valley Council hears emotional testimony for private cultivation of marijuana in City

By Debra Tash

The Simi Valley City Council considered the following issue: “A public hearing to consider amending Title 9 of the Simi Valley Municipal Code (Z-S-726) to include land use regulations to prohibit medical marijuana cultivation, processing, distribution, deliveries, collectives, and cooperatives within all zoning districts in the City, including without limitation prohibiting cultivation otherwise permitted for or by a qualified patient or their primary caregiver in accordance with California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5, establish definitions for medical marijuana uses, a determination that the action is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act, and introduction of an ordinance (Lyons) (CC)”

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It was the third hearing on the matter, the first being a Planning Commission Meeting on December 9, 2015, the second being the City Council meeting dated January 12, 2016.  The Planning Commission’s recommendation was to allow for private cultivation while disallowing any commercial growers, dispensaries or distributors in the City. The Council took it a step further by nixing a limited number of plants grown for personal use.

California first allowed medical marijuana in 1999 with the passage of Prop 215, the Compassionate Use Act.  In 2003 the State passed SB 420 which defined what medical use entails, a doctor’s prescription, 6 mature plants, 12 immature plants along with the keeping on hand of 8 ounces of dried marijuana being allowed.  In 2006 Simi Valley passed an ordinance against permitting dispensaries in the City.

Late last year the State brought the issue of regulation back to the cities and counties.

The chamber was packed at the Council’s February 22nd meeting.  Over thirty speakers voiced their opposition to banning private grows and some supported deliveries to the city residents from dispensaries in the San Fernando Valley.  Their reasons ranged from personal medical issues to the suffering of family members and close friends.

Chief McCann

Chief McCann

When public testimony was finished Mayor Bob Huber told of how he called up Mayor Janice Parvin of Moorpark to discuss their council banning both private cultivation and distribution.  Simi has a devastating Heroin problem and Huber feels marijuana is a gateway drug.  Chief of Police Mitch McCann said that having distributors in Simi will lead to problems with the large sums of money and drugs entering the City.

Council Member Steven T. Sojka said he would support personal cultivation.

Council Member Glen Becerra thanked those who were there but that the Council represents all of the 125,000 residents who live in Simi Valley.  He pointed out that though private growers aren’t breaking State law they are breaking Federal law.   He went on to say that some of those who spoke called the council members every name in the book, having used profanity. He suggested that the matter be taken through the regular process since the State is no longer imposing a March 1st deadline to craft new regulations.

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Council Member Glen Becerra

Mayor Pro Tem Keith Mashburn was concerned that he could go online and get a medical marijuana card without even seeing a doctor. He is in support of the ordinance.

Council Member Mashburn did the first reading.  The matter will be called back for a vote at another meeting. The Council is set to adopt the ban.

Simi Valley Cultivation Staff Report

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Debra Tash is Editor-in-Chief of Citizensjournal.us, past president for Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, business executive and award-winning author, residing in Somis.

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