Pismo Beach is once again moving to ban commercial marijuana businesses from operating in the city, a month after it failed to get enough votes to continue its urgency ordinance doing the same thing.
The Pismo Beach City Council voted 4-1 on Tuesday in favor of a ban on commercial cannabis-related activities such as manufacturing, processing, laboratory testing, labeling, storing and wholesale and retail distribution, as well as prohibiting outdoor cultivation.
Councilman Erik Howell once again voted against the ban, holding to his prior stance that the ordinance is unnecessary since such activities are technically still illegal under state law.
The city first approved an urgency ordinance banning all commercial cannabis Nov. 15.
At the time, the ordinance was intended as a stop-gap measure to help the city police cannabis businesses that some worried would begin trying to open without the correct state licensing. (Though Proposition 64, passed by voters in the November election, made recreational marijuana legal, it also required that all cannabis businesses be licensed through the state — something that isn’t expected to happen until 2018.)
The urgency ordinance had a sunset of 45 days, and when it was brought back to the council for a time extension, it failed to get enough votes to extend the prohibition.
According to a staff report, several council members asked to have the ban brought back as a regular ordinance, not an urgency ordinance, because it would require only a simple majority to pass, rather than the four-fifths vote that waylaid the urgency ordinance.
On Tuesday, the council quickly passed the ban, with city staff and council members being careful to note that the ban does not impede on medical marijuana deliveries or the limited at-home cultivation allowed by state law.
The ordinance is not in effect just yet; it must return to the council at a future meeting for final approval.