Marijuana legal, but won’t be sold in Agoura Hills

City’s strict pot laws remain in effect


BIG BUSINESS LOOMING—Agoura Hills won’t fight the law that allows people 21 and older to grow up to six marijuana plants on their property, but only indoors. ACORN FILE PHOTO

BIG BUSINESS LOOMING—Agoura Hills won’t fight the law that allows people 21 and older to grow up to six marijuana plants on their property, but only indoors. ACORN FILE PHOTO

With the legalization of marijuana across California last year, and the rollout of retail pot stores next year, the Agoura Hills City Council has taken a closer look at its municipal code and where it stands on how, when and where residents can use marijuana products.

Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, was passed by voters in California in November 2016, but cities across the state still have wiggle room when it comes to pot shop governance and where residents are allowed to grow and cultivate the weed.

 

 

In Agoura Hills, both medical and recreational cannabis stores are still prohibited.

While the city has the right to keep cannabis businesses from operating within its boundaries, compliance with other aspects of the state law is mandatory.

At a City Council meeting Aug. 9, Agoura Hills Planning Director Doug Hooper explained the extend to which Agoura Hills will comply with the state’s new legal marijuana law.

People 21 and older are allowed to grow no more than six marijuana plants on their property, but only indoors.

Residents are legally allowed to smoke or ingest the weed that they grow, and they also have the right to buy marijuana or other pot products in other regions and bring them home. Residents may legally give away pot to other adults and transport weed in their cars.

But there are limits.

No more than 28.5 grams of marijuana can be owned or transferred at a time, and owning concentrated forms of cannabis is limited to no more than 8 grams.

The city outlawed marijuana delivery services to people who may be housebound, though regulating such services could be impossible since marijuana would undoubtedly be delivered in unmarked cars.

“The city will rely on the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department to enforce the provisions of the ordinance, including the prohibition of deliveries,” Hooper told The Acorn.

But Sgt. Don Prince, a member of the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station’s narcotics division, said, “Monitoring actual deliveries isn’t happening.”

Prince said the sheriff ’s department would only monitor businesses that cropped up illegally in Agoura Hills.

The city’s new Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act allows it to deny licenses to businesses that want to operate marijuana dispensaries in Agoura Hills, including medical marijuana businesses, which have been legal in California for more than 20 years.

Mayor Denis Weber is against the use of marijuana.

“It saddens me that people in this state passed usage of a gateway drug,” Weber said. “I’m holding my nose with this vote.”

“We’re in an awkward position,” City Councilmember Bill Koehler said. “The state sanctions the use and sale of marijuana, but it’s still a federal offense.”

Koehler said banks will not open accounts for marijuana dispensaries because federal law still makes possession a crime, which means that cannabis businesses often remain cash-only.

“This creates the potential for higher criminal activity,” he said.

Yet Koehler and other council members said they recognize the medicinal benefits of marijuana and are happy that the law will allow people to be able to legally obtain medical cannabis.

“This is not a moral judgment on marijuana,” said Councilmember Harry Schwarz. “I know veterans and people in pain who use it.”

Councilmember Linda Northrup said she realizes that people use medical marijuana for a variety of reasons, and she is happy the new law allows both medical and recreational use as long as rules are followed.

“This ordinance draws the appropriate balance,” Northrup said, adding that she supported prohibiting commercial sales because it was an untried business.

Councilmember Illece Buckley Weber said she was glad the city will retain local control over marijuana usage and that marijuana consumption will be prohibited in public places.