Opinion: Senate bill could drastically impact local cannabis ordinances and decision-making

Cal Cities  opposes SB 1186 (Wiener), which would eliminate cities’ ability to prohibit medical cannabis retail activities, regardless of the needs of their residents. It would also restrict the ability of many cities to set local regulations developed in a public process and would require every city to prepare regulatory ordinances in anticipation of retail delivery applicants.

The ability of local jurisdictions to regulate cannabis retailers was central to the passage of both the original Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act and Proposition 64 and is integral to the combined Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act.

The Legislature worked closely with stakeholders to create a regulatory framework for medical cannabis more than a year before Proposition 64 was enacted. That framework later served as the foundation for the regulatory structure provided in the adult-use scheme. In the construction of both frameworks, the crafters recognized the critical need for local control, primarily as part of cities’ and counties’ land-use authority.

SB 1186 would undermine that carefully negotiated framework between the Legislature and local governments. Changing the local rules while the state is still in the implementation phase of the regulatory framework will impede the gradual, but consistent, progress that local jurisdictions have made toward expanding cannabis retail permitting throughout the state. The bill would also severely undermine cities’ ability to regulate cannabis and imposes a significant cost on local governments in the process.


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