Next week, city councilmembers Grant House, Helene Schneider, and Mayor Marty Blum will ask their colleagues whether the council should try to regulate the conduct of medical marijuana clinics within Santa Barbara city limits. Given the recent outcry over dispensaries operating too close too apartments and kids’ dance studios – and smoking taking place on premises – it’s highly likely the entire council will agree. Currently, there are ten marijuana dispensaries in Santa Barbara, with another on the way.
In related news, the Santa Barbara City Council unanimously voted in closes session to not challenge the recent court ruling upholding Measure P, last year’s ballot initiative that declared marijuana possession to be the lowest law enforcement priority. Although the measure passed overwhelmingly last November, the City Council challenged the results in court-by a 4-to-3 vote-arguing that the people did not have a constitutional right to make such policy edicts using the initiative process. Judge Thomas Anderle strenuously disagreed and issued his ruling to that effect one month ago. City Attorney Steve Wiley still maintains that the city’s position was correct, and that Anderle misapplied the law, but recommended that City Hall let the matter drop. The council has already appointed the committee to enforce Measure P by overseeing the possession arrests that city police do make.