Pubdate: Tue, 19 Sep 2017
Source: Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA)
Copyright: 2017 The Press-Enterprise Company


Just a couple of years ago, discussions of how to deal with marijuana
in the Inland Empire were limited. Now, several Inland jurisdictions
are considering opening up to marijuana businesses, an overdue
development given the failure of prohibition and the anticipated
availability of commercial sales of marijuana in 2018.

Late last month, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted to
move forward with plans to draft regulations for marijuana businesses
in the county's unincorporated areas. The move came after an ad-hoc
committee of Supervisors Kevin Jeffries and Chuck Washington concluded
that regulating and taxing marijuana "would enable the County to
better manage an already growing and uncontrolled industry," as
opposed to simply banning marijuana.

A week later, the Jurupa Valley City Council voted to study the
potential impacts of a ballot initiative to authorize commercial
activity, including cultivation, distribution and sales. A ballot
initiative to do such a thing in the city received enough signatures
to qualify for an election.

Last week, the Riverside City Council voted to approve a 45-day
moratorium on marijuana activity, exempting lab testing facilities and
personal cultivation, while the city drafts rules to regulate
marijuana businesses for consideration. It's quite the turnaround for
a city which long resisted even medical marijuana dispensaries.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the San Bernardino City Council will consider
forming a Citizens Advisory Committee to offer recommendations to city
officials on marijuana policy. Whether an advisory committee will do
any good isn't clear, but the city has long struggled with what to do
with medical marijuana dispensaries, primarily due to the
unwillingness of the council to make any decisions on the matter.

Three years ago, City Attorney Gary Saenz sought to "present a plan
which essentially acknowledges the futility and high cost of
attempting to completely eradicate marijuana dispensaries with our
current system" of prohibition and instead establish regulations. The
council fiddled and chose to do nothing, years later leading to
majorities of voters approving Measures O and N last November, which
are now caught up in litigation.

We encourage Inland communities to honestly weigh the costs and
benefits of regulation over prohibition.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt