EC Council Deliberates Regulating or Banning Marijuana Cultivation

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EL CENTRO — The El Centro City Council discussed the implementation of an ordinance that would regulate or ban personal outdoor marijuana cultivation at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

El Centro City Mayor Jason Jackson said Proposition 64 would allow local city control of marijuana use, in case it passes in November’s elections. This means local cities have jurisdiction to self-regulate apart from the statewide proposition, but that ordinance has to be in place before the November elections.

If the city bans recreational marijuana, it would mean no dispensaries and no outdoor cultivation, but it would not affect medical marijuana. If the city allows recreational cultivation of marijuana, a tax would be imposed and other possible regulatory measures.

Jackson said the downside of passing Prop 64 is that it may cause an increase in crime and DUI arrests, and he claimed it’s happened already in the state of Colorado where cultivation of recreational marijuana is legal.

“We’ve spent many hours with city staff, with our city attorney, really trying to understand all the pros and the cons of this issue. So that we could all make an informed decision. I think many of us on the council have reached out to the business community and residents and we’ve had our own personal conversations with those individuals,” Jackson said.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the council was divided 3-2 on the vote, so no action could be taken. However, the city has only until next Tuesday to make a decision. If Prop 64 is passed on Election Day, the city would lose the ability to set its own ordinance. The council is set to have an emergency meeting next Tuesday in order to come to a decision.