With a temporary ban set to expire next month, the council voted unanimously on Thursday to approve a permanent ordinance on a first reading. A second reading is scheduled for Oct. 2.
“Everyone keeps coming in here with statistics saying that 70% of the people have passed in favor of Prop. 64,” said Councilman Larry Chu. “The vast majority of the people, including myself, wanted to decriminalize the use of marijuana. But when you asked the same person, ‘Do you want it sold in your community?,’ the vast majority of people said no.”
Chu said he was on a committee that studied the 2016 proposition that legalized recreational cannabis use and sales in California. It was approved by roughly 70% of Marin voters. Chu also noted that he was among the leaders of a health advocacy group that has lobbied against cannabis businesses in Marin.
Larkspur’s regulations prohibit all cannabis-related activities that municipalities are allowed to ban under state law, including outdoor marijuana gardens for personal use in addition to retail, testing, manufacturing and commercial cultivation businesses. Delivery services are banned from opening headquarters in the city.
The state allows indoor cultivation of up to six plants for personal use per household, which municipalities cannot ban. It also allows marijuana delivery services to sell in any jurisdiction in the state.
Delivery services must obtain permits from City Hall to sell in Larkspur under the city’s regulations, but City Manager Dan Schwarz said Larkspur doesn’t have “a real way of enforcing that.”
Four people shared their opinions with the council during a public hearing on Wednesday, including Kelsey Fernandez, a member of the youth advocacy group Marin Healthy Partnerships.
Fernandez called Larkspur’s ordinance “a cautious approach at this stage of legalization.” She said the health impacts of cannabis are unclear.