ENCINITAS — Since the legalization of recreational marijuana use in California, state regulators and city officials have been tasked with deciding which cannabis-related practices should be allowed by law and which ones go one-toke over the line.
In Encinitas, where the retail sale, commercial cultivation and delivery of recreational marijuana remain illegal, the City Council has discussed whether it should at least allow legal cannabis products from licensed operators to be delivered to adult residents.
Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear brought the topic to the council’s attention again on Dec. 12 during her initiated agenda item, noting that the city’s delivery ban is “a little bit of an injustice that remains in our code,” she said.
Blakespear pointed to compassionate care — such as residents who are homebound — as a reason why the council should consider adopting a delivery policy.
But given the potential that by early January it may be legal to deliver marijuana products to any location in the state, including ones like Encinitas that ban pot shops, the council decided to wait before pursuing the matter further at the city level.
The California Bureau of Cannabis Control has proposed multiple regulations for marijuana use, including the statewide legalization of cannabis-product deliveries. Those regulations were sent to the Office of Administrative Law, which has 30 days to decide whether to approve them, according to EncinitasCity Attorney Glenn Sabine.
Sabine told the council that the Office of Administrative Law has the authority to strike down the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s proposed delivery ordinance. He said, “The likelihood is that that’s not going to happen, but it’s not a certainty.” However, an affirmative ruling could be appealed in court.
If an appeal gets filed or the state delivery law remains in limbo for a different reason, Blakespear expressed her hope that the council would authorize cannabis-product deliveries at the city level.
City Councilman Tony Kranz appeared to concur, saying, “It seems to me that if somebody is inclined to consume cannabis that it isn’t in our best interest to put them in their car to drive to the store.”
Kranz, however, also wished to wait to see whether the state renders the subject moot.
It is expected that Sabine will have an update to share at the next regular council meeting on Jan. 9.
On a broader level, Encinitas voters will decide in November 2020 whether to authorize the retail sale, commercial cultivation, manufacturing and distribution of marijuana in the city. A citizen-led initiative called the Cannabis Activity Zoning Ordinance of Encinitas is slated for the 2020 ballot, after it missed a signature-certification deadline for the 2018 ballot by minutes.