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California Cities Oppose Changes to Prevent Local Bans of Marijuana Delivery Services

By, Michael R. Blood

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California cities objected to a proposed change in state rules that they say would allow unchecked home cannabis deliveries in places that have banned local marijuana sales.

In a letter to state regulators released Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, the League of California Cities said the change would undermine local authority and potentially lure criminal activity to cities that wanted pot businesses kept out of their communities.

The proposal would unleash “cannabis delivery anywhere in the state, regardless of conflicting local regulations or bans,” the group wrote in the letter, released Aug. 13 but dated July 27, 2018.

“An influx of unapproved local cannabis deliveries will decrease transparency of cannabis operations and increase public safety obligations and costs for local law enforcement,” the letter said.

California kicked off adult-use sales Jan. 1, 2018. What has emerged is a patchwork of local laws, with some cities and counties embracing the legal cannabis economy while others have limited sales and growing or outlawed all commercial pot activity. That’s created so-called pot deserts, where sales are forbidden.

The state Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) said in a statement that it was merely clarifying what has always been the case: that a licensed pot delivery can be made to “any jurisdiction within the state.”

The state is considering changes to rules that govern the legal marketplace. At issue is apparently conflicting fine print in the maze of state law and rules involving marijuana.

The cities are pointing in part to Proposition 64, the law approved by 57 percent of voters on Nov. 8, 2016, that opened the way for adult-use sales, but allows local governments to ban non-medical marijuana businesses. But the state is looking to the business and professions code, which states that “a local jurisdiction shall not prevent delivery of cannabis or cannabis products on public roads” by a licensed operator.

A proposal in the Legislature intended to clarify that a licensed business can deliver cannabis anywhere in California stalled in the Senate.

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