Encinitas will lift its ban on out-of-town, cannabis companies making deliveries within the city limits now that state regulations have changed, the City Council unanimously agreed.
"For me, I think it's a necessary step ... we're now at the point that I think we need to take action," Councilman Tony Kranz said.
The council took up the issue in response to a recommendation by City Attorney Glenn Sabine. In a memo to the council, Sabine noted that the state's Bureau of Cannabis Control recently issued new regulations and those regulations have been approved by the state's Office of Administrative Law. The new regulations declare that delivery company employees can "deliver to any jurisdiction within the state of California" as long as the delivery company employees comply with state law.
That means, Sabine told the council Wednesday, "The city has no discretion any more to prohibit deliveries within its boundaries."
California has been reworking its marijuana regulations ever since 2016 when the state's voters approved Proposition 64 -- the marijuana legalization initiative. While they waited for the state to craft new regulations, California cities established their own patchwork of marijuana-related ordinances.
In addition to the delivery company ban, Encinitas has a ban on marijuana dispensaries setting up storefront shops in town and a ban on commercial cultivation of marijuana. Those may change, however.
Next year, the city's voters will be asked to weigh in on a citizens' initiative known as the "Cannabis Activity Zoning Ordinance of Encinitas." It would allow marijuana to be sold in up to four retail dispensaries in town, cultivated as a commercial crop, and used as an ingredient in manufactured products.
At previous City Council meetings, marijuana proponents have called on the city to lift its delivery ban, noting that Encinitas had the highest percentage of yes votes on the state's Prop. 64 out of all San Diego County cities. But on Wednesday night, only opponents came before the council to speak.
Many of the public speakers were advisors for youth drug prevention programs and they said lifting the ban would put marijuana into the hands of teenagers. They encouraged council members to wait to make any changes to city regulations, saying lawsuits may soon be filed against the state over the delivery issue.
"I see your dilemma, but I don't think it has to be resolved tonight," said Judi Strang of the San Dieguito Alliance for Drug Free Youth.
Opponents also said lifting the delivery ban would benefit the backers of the next year's initiative by improving their prospects for passage. Kranz told them he disagreed with that view.
Kranz said he thought lifting the ban would make it less likely that voters would support an initiative that would allow up to four storefront marijuana businesses to open in town. He added that he would rather allow the delivery companies to come to people's homes, rather than having people drive out of town to get marijuana, use it and then drive home.