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Lake Elsinore joins growing list of communities in passing a marijuana measure

By in Press Enterprise on November 29, 2017

By David Downey

A Riverside County city set the stage Tuesday, Nov. 28, for marijuana businesses to open in town a little more than a month from now, while limiting the total number of potential operators to 10.

Looking ahead to next year’s roll-out of a state law legalizing recreational pot use, the Lake Elsinore City Council adopted an ordinance that allows marijuana operations in two types of industrial zones. In doing so, Lake Elsinore joins a growing number of Inland cities and local governments that are working on measures in advance of the 2018 cannabis debut.

The council voted 4-1 to adopt the Lake Elsinore ordinance, with Mayor Bob Magee voting no.

Magee said that he would have preferred to more tightly restrict where such businesses can go, limiting them to the M-2 or heavy industrial zone only. As it is, M-1 or light industrial areas will be potential candidates for the cannabis industry, too.

“M-1 is all over the city,” Magee said.

Grant Taylor, community development director, said the ordinance permits a maximum of five marijuana businesses in each zone.

But retail commercial areas are strictly off limits.

“The biggest issue is, we don’t want dispensaries in shopping centers,” said City Manager Grant Yates.

Lake Elsinore’s measure has drawn much interest in recent weeks.

“We’ve had a lot of questions about standalone dispensaries,” Taylor said. “Are they allowed? No they are not.”

Justin Kirk, principal planner, said before the meeting that the measure allows dispensaries solely as part of cultivation or manufacturing facilities, those used for growing marijuana or extracting oils to make edibles such as candies.

Kirk added that activities must take place inside buildings. Plants, for example, cannot be grown outside and be visible to the public.

And in response to a councilman’s question, Taylor said robust exhaust systems will be mandatory to prevent marijuana odors from […]    

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