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Redondo Beach to Embrace the Marijuana Market

Prop 64 legalizing marijuana for recreational use passed in California November 9, 2016. Redondo Beach is considering allowing retail dispensaries in the city.

Five months after Californians legalized recreational marijuana, Redondo Beach is beginning to explore and consider allowing commercial retail medical marijuana shops in the city.

One of the first South Bay cities to start the medical marijuana retail shop conversation, the Planning Commission opened discussion this week on whether to ban or welcome dispensaries and when medical marijuana sales would be allowed.

The seven member panel in Redondo beach was not ready to make recommendations but will be ready to pick up the conversation at their next meeting May 18, 2017. The panel will pass along recommendations to the City Council, which will make the finaal decision.

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, licensing for commercial businesses begins Jan. 1, 2018, which leaves a 7 month window of time for cities until then to get their game plans together.

Redondo Beach is starting an early discussion because a potential local sales tax would need to go before voters as stated by Deputy City Attorney Jillian Martins.

On a side note, Carson, CA already passed a marijuana tax rate, but the city is still undecided whether it will allow marijuana sales.

The city also must decide whether it wants to regulate personal marijuana cultivation.

The AUMA allows adults 21 years and older to have up to six marijuana plants per household, but cities can enact their own restrictions and permissions, such as requiring permits, charging fees to cover safety inspections, or requiring plants grown indoors to be hidden from public view. Commissioner Doug Rodriguez stated that if people were to apply for cultivation permits their application would be a matter of public record.

Similar to surrounding cities, Redondo Beach passed an urgency ordinance last year temporarily banning cultivation to buy time to set long term regulations, but the moratorium already has expired.

A handful of Redondo residents at the meeting were in favor of regulating commercial sales, saying the city shouldn’t miss out on opportunities ahead.

Stigma surrounding marijuana use is a thing of the past, said Eugene Solomon. Eugene Solomon encouraged Redondo to look at Colorado as a model and that the revenue stream could have wonderful consequences.

Charlie Cangialosi, a Redondo Beach resident and sales director of the largest edibles manufacturer in the state of California, Kiva Confections, said he has seen high-end storefronts “that put Apple and Nordstrom to shame.”

His company’s largest storefront in Oakland does $43 million a year in sales which if taxed could considerably help the city of Redondo and any deficit it has accrued. This is an amazing opportunity for Redondo to take a leadership position and provide practical regulations to allow retail marijuana stores.

Police are concerned about the implications of conflicting with federal law, including whether the Police Department’s relationships with federal agencies could suffer.

Commissioner Marc Mitchell states “This is something that’s gonna happen and, yeah, we have the doom-and-gloom idea of what the feds could do, but in the end, you have to, I think, try to figure out how to set up the rules and set up where these things would go and do it in a very thoughtful, logical and pragmatic way to disallow as much tomfoolery as possible.”

It looks like California, and Redondo specifically, could be on the cusp of the progression of permitted marijuana cultivation and retail locations.

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