Del Mar council reviews marijuana regulations

With voters passing Proposition 64, which legalized pot for recreational use, the Del Mar City Council recently took another look at its marijuana regulations.

The council adopted an ordinance in January that banned the commercial cultivation, delivery, distribution and processing of medical marijuana in the city.

Ultimately, the council on Nov. 21 decided not to make any changes to Del Mar’s current laws. The city, however, could potentially modify language in the future to address the testing and processing of marijuana.

“So far we’re OK because we have everything except what was mentioned,” City Attorney Leslie Devaney said. “So, legally, I don’t think there’s anything you have to do now.”

State Proposition 64, known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, allows people 21 years and older to smoke, vape or ingest marijuana or marijuana products in a private home or at a business licensed for onsite marijuana consumption. Use is illegal in locations where tobacco is prohibited, within 1,000 feet of a school, day care or youth center, and while driving, operating or riding in a vehicle.

According to the city staff report, people can possess, process, transport, purchase, obtain or give away up to 28.5 grams of non-concentrated marijuana or up to eight grams of concentrated marijuana products. They can also grow up to six plants indoors for private use.

Commercial cultivation, which is currently prohibited in Del Mar, will require a state license. The new state law establishes a new state agency, the Bureau of Marijuana Control, to regulate and license various commercial non-medical marijuana uses and medical marijuana uses.

Retail sales, dispensaries and delivery services are also currently prohibited in Del Mar. The city, however, must provide for the use of its public roads for deliveries from state-licensed businesses.

Cities can choose whether to prohibit or allow marijuana-related testing facilities, subject to local limitations and state licensing requirements, for the research and testing of marijuana and new marijuana-related products. According to the staff report, “This type of use would typically be conducted within an office or lab type of setting within a medical office building or business park.”

Staff said that testing is the only category the city has not already covered.

Cities can also choose whether to prohibit or allow marijuana-related processing facilities, subject to local limitations and state licensing requirements, for the processing and manufacturing of marijuana and marijuana-related products from raw materials. This includes the commercial processing of edible marijuana products.

According to the staff report, the city currently allows various non-marijuana-related manufacturing and processing uses in the North Commercial zone and allows small artisan-type manufacturing and processing facilities, such as bakeries and confectionaries, in the Central Commercial zone.

“My request would be that staff (continues to) view this and look at this. If there are some things that we need as a council to consider … we bring that back,” Deputy Mayor Terry Sinnott said. “I think we’ve made some good decisions in the past on medical marijuana. I just don’t want that to deteriorate into something else by lack of attention.”