Cities in California have been rushing to issue temporary bans on recreational marijuana ahead of Tuesday’s election.
On November 8, California residents will be considering a host of ballot initiatives, including of course Proposition 64. If Prop 64 passes, it would legalize recreational marijuana use for adults. Residents could cultivate, ingest, travel with and also grow up to 6 marijuana plants. Local municipalities would still have the option to ban recreational marijuana, but they would potentially lose out on tax deductions and revenue.
Prop 64 has polled favorably with California residents and is expected to pass. However, this does not mean that adults will be free to purchase, distribute, and consume marijuana on November 9.
In order to get ahead of the issue, several municipalities including San Jose have placed a ban on recreational marijuana until the process of setting up licensing guidelines and regulations is completed.
“This would provide the time, if the voters pass Prop. 64, for analysis and policy discussion – including environmental review, community outreach and ultimately coming back to the City Council for a decision on whether to allow and regulate commercial activity,” Michelle McGurk, an assistant to the San Jose city manager who oversees medical marijuana policy, told The Mercury News.
Several cities in Southern California – including San Marcos, Santa Barbara, and Solvang – have moved forward with recreational bans. In the Bay Area, Berkeley has also banned recreational marijuana for the time being. Palo Alto, Forest City, and other cities in the region are expected to take similar action.
Not everyone agreed with the bans.
“This is a complete and utter waste of time,” said James Anthony, an Oakland-based attorney who specializes in pot regulation. “They don’t have the power to change the fact that marijuana will be legal on Nov. 9. They’re making it look like Prop. 64 is a scary thing that allows pot shops on every corner — and it’s the complete opposite.”