Benicia City Council Votes Against Cannabis Dispensaries Downtown
The Benicia City Council has voted against allowing cannabis
dispensaries in the downtown area.
The council heard extensive public comment on the issue late into
Tuesday night before voting 4-0 against allowing downtown dispensaries.
Councilman Alan Schwartzman did not vote in order to avoid a
conflict of interest because he lives in and has business property downtown,
city officials said.
The council will discuss allowing cannabis sales, deliveries,
laboratories, testing, personal and commercial cultivation and manufacturing
in Benicia outside of the downtown area at its Dec. 19 meeting.
Benicia City Attorney Heather McLaughlin and Community Development
Department Director said in a report to the Council that prohibiting cannabis
use downtown is consistent with the Planning Commission’s recommendation and
makes sense for several reasons.
They said downtown is the “front porch” of the city and is a
tourist attraction and centerpiece of the city’s “Visit Benicia” campaign.
Tinfow said she is pleased with the progress Benicia is making in
developing comprehensive cannabis laws.
“I also am very proud and impressed with the tenor, tone, and
civility of the public with their comments at (Tuesday’s) meeting, especially
the many high school and middle school students who were so articulate with
their remarks,” Tinfow said.
California voters passed Proposition 64, which legalizes
recreational cannabis effective Jan. 1, 2018, when the state will begin
issuing cannabis businesses licenses. Local jurisdictions in the state have
been crafting their own ordinances regarding provisions for cannabis
businesses in their areas.