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Costa Mesa preserves marijuana rules while studying how to apply new state law

With no discussion, the Costa Mesa City Council unanimously approved an “urgency ordinance” Tuesday aimed at preserving the city’s current rules regarding marijuana, pending further study, after statewide voters in November legalized its recreational use.

The 45-day ordinance will prohibit marijuana use in the city to the extent possible under state law and give city staff more time “to study options for how this new law should be implemented in Costa Mesa,” said Jay Trevino, a consultant with the city’s Development Services Department. The council can extend the ordinance beyond the 45 days.

Cities are allowed to pass temporary ordinances so they can determine what they can ban or restrict under the state law and what they can’t.

“In a nutshell, this urgency ordinance preserves the status quo until the City Council can determine how best to implement Proposition 64,” Trevino said Tuesday, referring to the recreational-marijuana measure on the Nov. 8 ballot.

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About 57% of California voters approved the measure, which authorizes people 21 and older to legally possess, use and grow marijuana for recreational purposes, with certain restrictions.

Trevino said city staff believes some issues warrant further study, including “whether cultivation of marijuana beyond the six plants allowed in Proposition 64 should be permitted — including whether outdoor cultivation is permitted — and, secondly, whether recreational-marijuana business should be allowed and, if so, where and under what conditions.”

The ordinance adopted Tuesday will “temporarily prohibit indoor cultivation … except as allowed by state law, and all outdoor cultivation, pending further analysis of regulatory options and approaches,” according to city documents.

After studying the matter further, Trevino said, staff will return to the council with additional information to review.

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Trevino said the ordinance does not affect Measure X, which Costa Mesa voters approved in November.

That measure allows businesses that research, test, process and manufacture some medical marijuana products to open in the industrial and manufacturing zone north of South Coast Drive and west of Harbor Boulevard, provided they obtain permits from the city. Such businesses will not be allowed in South Coast Collection.

Measure X maintains the city’s ban on over-the-counter dispensaries.

Local voters rejected Measures V and W, which would have allowed limited numbers of medical marijuana dispensaries in Costa Mesa.

luke.money@latimes.com

Twitter: @LukeMMoney


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