Menifee votes to ban marijuana use and cultivation

Menifee City Councilmembers Matthew Liesemeyer, Mayor Pro Tem Greg August and Councilmember John Denver prepare to approve the second reading of the city’s marijuana ordinance. Jacob Preal photo
Menifee City Councilmembers Matthew Liesemeyer, Mayor Pro Tem Greg August and Councilmember John Denver prepare to approve the second reading of the city’s marijuana ordinance. Jacob Preal photo

Jacob Preal

Valley News Intern

MENIFEE – Menifee City Council voted Jan. 6 to adopt a Marijuana Cultivation and Processing Ordinance that will go in effect 30 days after the second reading. The ordinance will strictly prohibit marijuana use and allow the council to determine further regulations in the future if necessary.

Mayor Pro Tem August held the second reading of the ordinance Wednesday, Jan. 20, as Mayor Mann was absent due to his attendance of the California League of Cities seminar in Sacramento. This move secures the city’s ability to develop its own regulation processes before Assembly Bill No. 243, Medical marijuana takes effect March 1.

The new ordinance prohibits cultivation and processing marijuana anywhere in the city. This includes “growing, planting, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, rimming or processing” the plant and creating any kinds of marijuana related products.

Other cities have been following similar trends as AB 243 rests on the horizon. Through a provision effective March 1, the bill will become the only regulatory power to license applicants for medical marijuana in cities where no cultivation ordinance is in effect. The bill will pre-empt cities from enacting any marijuana legislation after this point of no return.

“Doing this now sets the bar for adjustment,” stated Council Member Matthew Liesemeyer. “If we did nothing, after March first we could do nothing. We basically needed to set this line.”

Just before the vote took place during the first reading, a few public speakers expressed their concerns. Proponents of the ban stressed the “small town” community that would be threatened by the influx of marijuana users should its usage continue unopposed under AB 243 jurisdiction. Opponents worry about the future of businesses and were critical of the council’s inability to be forward-thinking.

Citizens also discussed the medical benefits of marijuana, with some currently struggling through illnesses that need to be treated. Diane Donahue, diagnosed with breast cancer, assured that “there are serious repercussions for people to not be able to get this drug.”

Council Members August and Lesa Sobek commented on behalf of their districts, which largely oppose marijuana in their neighborhoods. They feel that families and children should be protected first and foremost.

“Most of the people that I talk to say that they love Menifee because it is a family environment,” said Sobek. “It’s a safe place to raise your children.”

Liesemeyer, the only dissenter in the vote, recognized the medical benefits of marijuana and would have preferred a limit of allowing eight plants to be cultivated, as recommended by the planning commissioner.

Mann assured the council that banning marijuana now will still allow the council or a future one to alter the municipal code later down the road. He stressed that the vote was simply “an opportunity to meet a deadline under the law.”

The city is prepared to uphold this ordinance with regular code enforcement and the police department. Last summer, the Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Team managed to take down four marijuana cultivators in Quail Valley alone.

August, Councilmember John Denver, and Liesemeyer approved the second reading of the ordinance, which will be effective Feb. 19.

8 Responses to "Menifee votes to ban marijuana use and cultivation"

  1. Christopher   January 27, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    I can understand the decision in fear of not being re-elected again and I bet his community probably does not respect the sick and poor very much. Next he will be closing all the pharmacies in Menifee because pharmaceuticals are the drug of choice today. So out of touch, he may have been born this way, lack of common sense or mentally challenged.

    • Brian   May 4, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      I purpose a ban on all the sale of all alcohol at grocery stores, liquor stores, bars and restaurants. Numerous research shows the negative affects alcohol has in any community. Increased crime, public nuisances, and endangering the lives of our children and families. We need to protect our community and Alcohol is destroying our safety.

      Wait, Alcohol brings in too much tax revenue into our city. The public will have to deal with the increased crime, nuisances and safety of our families and children alcohol brings. But heaven forbid medical marijuana which helps people in their own dwellings where they medicate, nope, can’t let that happen. Wake up people!

  2. Mike   January 30, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Thank you for the ban. People are too high on drugs to understand the benefit.

    • Brian   May 4, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      Benefits of a ban on marijuana? Please continue your list… I’m very intrigued in what your point is, I have counter arguments for the adoption of “medical” marijuana in our community for every point you can muster.

  3. Jerry Hirsch   January 31, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Prohibition did not work in the 20’s and it still does not work today. Regardless of which drug is consumed, the widely tolerated Alcohol, or the still forbidden Marijuana, the former will continue to be used in the same quantities as before.

    Our Councilmen attempt to paint a pretty, but distorted image of Menifee. The truth remains that these Artists prefer fantasy and are unable to confront the hard reality that Marijuana use is here to stay.

  4. Brian   May 4, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    “Council Members August and Lesa Sobek commented on behalf of their districts, which largely oppose marijuana in their neighborhoods. ‘They feel that families and children should be “protected” first and foremost’.”

    Wake up people, what does “protected” mean? You’re making cannabis out to be something nasty which it isn’t. People in this community like Diane Donahue are already using medical marijuana to treat their illness who all medicate responsibly in the safety of their own homes putting no danger to anyone in the community or being a public nuisance. Why the need for “protection”?

    Thousands of Menifee residents are medical marijuana patients, let’s see that research in exactly how many people in our geographical area hold medical marijuana doctor recommendations and then use that data to base the decision on what to do with medical marijuana cultivation. Let’s look at the research of medical marijuana related crime in Menifee. How many of these crimes were for home cultivation for qualified medical marijuana patients following Riverside County strict guidelines of 12 plants per qualified person or 24 plants per two qualified persons.

    Let’s focus on bigger problems that are actually putting families and children at risk “requiring protection”. Drunk driving, we should ban all liquor stores, bars and pubs in the city because that encourages people to act irresponsible and drive drunk risking them selfs and other motorists on the roads. Let’s look what Menifee’s ban on marijuana dispensaries also does, leads people to drive out of city to Perris, Homeland and other areas legal medical marijuana dispensaries are to pick up their meds and then requires them to drive back home into Menifee, maybe they’ll medicate before that drive home and there we go, you just put other motorists, families and children at risk.

    Wake up Menifee, the reality is Medical Marijuana is real and it isn’t as bad as you think it is. There are a lot of mis-informed people making decisions for us basing their knowledge about a certain topic on research to defame the topic at hand. California residents voted in medical marijuana, Colorado residents voted in recreation marijuana, and many other states are jumping aboard. Marijuana prohibition is about to end and our council needs to pull their heads out of hole of the past and embrace this new industry into our community.

    Allowing legal city approved dispensaries will generate additional tax revenue to pay Menifee’s public services where families and children will all be protected and benefit from. Being concerned about “Protecting families and children”, outlawing something will only put families and children at greater risk than embracing marijuana and allowing marijuana businesses into our community. I’d love to attend the next council meeting where we re-introduce this topic.

  5. Mike   July 4, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    You are all uneducated. You have no clue what laws are about to hit the state this year. Menifee chooses to be a dry city when the state is about to go recreational. They had to impose regulations before deadlines this year or their voice is null and void. They have that choice to act, and I stand firm with them. I have lived in cities and counties that are full on grow communities(I worked in the grow industry) and crimes are just as bad as those inundated with meth. If you don’t believe me…move your family there. I wish you all the luck. Be proud your city supports a family friendly environment. BTW, there was just a shooting at a Riverside club for MARIJUANA. Don’t say crimes around MARIJUANA are nonexistent. It Just makes your arguements seem loosely based on fables. Just for the record I also support banning alcohol.

    ~Your Neighbor Who Loves You

  6. Kat   November 24, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    All I can say ….the green rush is here … And it will be around for a long time…. Now… it’s all about the Benjamin’s…… This is riverside county … Its legal ,,,, city bans …. Well , as long as you have the right permits …pay taxes. And have your lawyer, and have sick people that uses med/marijana. HERE IN MENIFEE, CA.. I would think the city ban is a waste of time and a joke….. U know how much money menifee could make.????? I think it’s the parents responsibility to protect there own family’s. …..Not the city of menifee…. Just sayin…..


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