Both sides of the argument were present during the discussion as members of the public took to the dais. Law officials rebuked the statement made by pro-cannabis – that by allowing legal marijuana, the black market would disappear – arguing that the imposed taxes would raise costs significantly and drive those who could not afford legal cannabis back to the black market. However, they provided no counters to any claims made by the medical marijuana community which consisted of relief for symptoms of cancer, physical pain, anxiety, and insomnia to name a few. It is perhaps, the driving reason behind the City Council’s move to revisit the total ban.
To help them draft the ordinances, the city has set aside a budget to hire a consulting firm to “sit with professional city staff, our professional city planners and determine how many dispensaries are needed by this community, where should they go, who should the operators be, [and] how we select the operators,” said Olivier during the 12/14 City Council meeting.
Officials have begun targeting marijuana businesses that are operating without a state license. The Bureau of Cannabis Control has recently sent out cease-and-desist orders to approximately 500 cannabis businesses located in California that have not begun the process of obtaining a state license. The letter instructs all unlicensed businesses to stop all cannabis related activity until they receive proper licensing. Failure to follow state law will result in administrative and criminal penalties along with significant fines for each violation.