It looks like recreational marijuana may be sold in Pasadena after all.
The City Council on Monday unanimously approved a motion to prepare an initiative for the June ballot that would regulate sales and taxation of cannabis.
The move comes on the heels of a failed effort by marijuana proponents last December to collect signatures to get their own initiative on the June ballot.
In November, the council voted to ban dispensaries in city limits but agreed to allow the delivery of medical marijuana.
Planning Director David Reyes said that the initiative would limit the number of dispensaries allowed to operate in the city, and make sure sales and taxation are regulated under city rules instead of rules established by marijuana proponents.
“There might only be three allowed at first,” Reyes said, “and then maybe only a total of nine.”
In November 2015, state voters approved Proposition 64, which allows for the recreational use of marijuana and its sale for those purposes to people 21 and older. The new law, which creates two new taxes, one levied on cultivation, the other on retail sales, also gives cities the ability to craft ordinances regulating sales within city limits. A ballot initiative would have wiped out the city’s ordinance.
The city has been battling illegal dispensary owners for the past several years.
Last year, the council passed an ordinance allowing the city to cut off the utilities of businesses operating without permits.
At that time, there were 12 shops in Pasadena selling marijuana without permits. One dealer who racked up numerous citations for illegal distribution said he would not stop selling pot until ordered to do so by a court.
In a staff report, City Manager Steve Mermell said that proponents of marijuana could continue to push for a ballot initiative if the city did not act.
“Amending the city’s rules to allow the unrestricted or very limited regulation of commercial cannabis activities may result in negative impacts citywide,” Mermell said. “While the state marijuana laws give each jurisdiction the right to regulate these uses as each sees fit, the recent actions by proponents of commercial cannabis activity could effectively remove the city’s ability to determine its land use regulations.”