The Murrieta City Council put more teeth into an ordinance that prohibits the cultivation, processing, delivery and dispensaries in the city by including an additional land use prohibition.
With the council’s unanimous action Tuesday, Jan. 15, Murrieta joins other cities in the Inland Empire that prohibit the use and distribution of marijuana, other than those who have a medical need, to bolster their ordinances. The addendum to the ordinance (adding Chapter 16.44 entitled “Medical Marijuana Land Use Prohibition” to Title 6, Article II of the city’s Municipal Code) now prohibits any landowner from obtaining a permit to raise or sell marijuana for outside distribution on their property. The earlier ordinance did not include any prohibition on land use permits, variances and building permits for the growth and distribution of marijuana.
The new urgency ordinance Title 6 Article II now expressly prohibits “the establishment and operation of marijuana cultivation, processing, delivery, and dispensary activities as well as the issuance of any use permit, variance, building permit or any other entitlement, license or permit for any such activity, except where the City is preempted by federal of state law from enacting a prohibition on any such activity or a prohibition on the issuance of any use permit, variance, building permit or any other entitlement, license, or permit for any such activity.”
The city’s concern about reviewing and strengthening city laws prohibiting marijuana growth or distribution came after Gov. Brown signed an Act with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2016, that contained new provisions that govern the cultivating, processing, transporting, testing and distributing of medical marijuana to qualified patients.
Since a number of Inland Empire cities, including Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Temecula, and Hemet had ordinances prohibiting the cultivation, transporting, or distributing Marijuana because it caused a number of civil problems, the city wanted to make sure its own ordinances would stand up to the state laws. The state law does permit cities to enact their own prohibitive ordinances. The cities went to review their ordinances and found some areas where the state laws might overrule them. The result is new, stronger city marijuana prohibitions.
It remains that while California and other states do allow the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana to needy patients the federal law still makes the cultivation, transportation and distribution of marijuana, medical or not, illegal and can be enforced by federal officers. Riverside County, as does the state, under their ordinances, allow the cultivation and use of marijuana for medical purposes, but with strict guidelines.