Simi Valley Council votes to disallow Commercial marijuana growing in City

By Debra Tash

At their first meeting of 2016, the Council voted unanimously to take up the Planning Commission’s recommendation to amend the City’s  zoning code to disallow any commercial marijuana growing in Simi Valley along with permits for dispensaries.Staff_Report–Simi.Valley.Marijuana

Several cities within Ventura County are considering similar measures, motivated by the the State’s passage last year of the, “California Medical Marijuana Regulation Safety Act,” which came into effect on January 1st.  This law enacts state licensing of the commercial growing, distribution and retail sales of marijuana.  However it allows cities and counties to adopt ordinances banning these activities within their jurisdictions.

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.

Now with the new state law the City had to reaffirm that position and add that no commercial of growing of the plant be allowed.  The Safety Act also outlines how much land can be used to grow personal medical marijuana, no more than 100 square feet for a patient and no more than 500 feet for a caregiver.

Councilmember Glen Becerra commented that he didn’t understand why patients just couldn’t go to Rite Aid with their prescriptions like people have to do with other controlled substances.

The Council adopted the Planning Commission’s recommendation which does still allow the use for individual patients.

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The Council also extended the moratorium for another 12 months on Massage permits/licensing, despite impassioned pleas from several practitioners during public comments.  Staff stated they needed more time to sort out regulations.  Simi has the second highest number of massage establishments in the County.

With the success last year of The Nottingham Festival, held over two weekends on the City campus, organizers requested a lengthier use of the Civic Center for 2016.  The Council authorized the lease option to approximately five weeks to accommodate an extra “Tumbleweed/Simi Valley Historical Ghost Town” event taking place immediately before the Nottingham Festival.

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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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