A majority of California voters legalized recreational cannabis in 2016. But between 70 and 80 percent of cities and counties currently ban retail cannabis sales.
Democratic Assembly member Phil Ting of San Francisco wants to change that. He recently introduced a bill that would require cities and counties to issue cannabis retail licenses if a majority of residents voted for Proposition 64, which legalized adult use.
“What this bill does is ensure is that … the voters who voted for Prop. 64 have access to cannabis,” he said during a committee hearing this week.
Ting argues that so-called “pot deserts” are problematic for patients who rely on medical cannabis.
The bill’s opponents argue that a local government’s power to regulate cannabis shouldn’t change.
“The bill in short is very troubling,” said Charles Harvey, legislative representative for the League of California Cities. “It would completely erode the local control of cities and counties to regulate brick and mortar retail cannabis shops in their communities.” The Rural County Representatives of California also opposes Ting’s bill.
Specifically, it would require applicable cities and counties to issue one cannabis license for every four liquor store licenses, or one cannabis license per 10,000 people, whichever is lower.
The bill is sponsored by United Domestic Workers, a union of in-home care employees. The bill passed the Assembly Business and Professions Committee earlier this week.
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