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Riverside extends temporary ban on marijuana until September 2018

By in Press Enterprise on October 25, 2017

By Ryan Hagen

The Riverside City Council voted Tuesday, Oct. 25, to continue to ban commercial marijuana land use and the outdoor cultivation of recreational marijuana for another 10 months, but officials say they’ll look hard at alternatives in the meantime.

The council voted unanimously to extend the moratorium, which originally passed in September, on the condition that city staff report back soon with answers to a few questions and a longer-term plan.

A public workshop including answers to questions from council members and the public will be held Dec. 5, said Rafael Guzman, Riverside’s director of Community and Economic Development.

In addition, an ordinance specifically covering laboratory testing facilities will come to the City Council for direction Nov. 7, Guzman said.

The purpose of the temporary ban is to allow the city to craft a thoughtful, comprehensive policy on marijuana, said Councilman Jim Perry, who was acting as mayor in Rusty Bailey’s absence.

“In many ways, Proposition 64 is uncharted territory, and many consider this one of the largest public policy issues of our time,” Perry said. “The challenge is that there is no recipe on how to effectively respond to this change in state law, yet the consequences for public safety, health and land use are sizeable if we get this wrong.”

During the moratorium, the city needs to work toward a reasonable policy, or it will attract ballot measures allowing marijuana on terms that could be less favorable for the city, said Councilman Mike Soubirous.

“I’m just worried about us looking like we’re kicking the can down the road and not doing our due diligence and making decisions, and then getting imposed upon with initiatives,” Soubirous said, pointing to the two ballot measures coming in Jurupa Valley.

The city should rescind the moratorium if a measure is put on the ballot, but regardless, it should act […]    

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