Council mulling changes to Temecula’s marijuana rules

Poll numbers suggest there is support for allowing laboratory testing — but not direct sales to customers — in commercial zones.

Armed with polling data collected last month by FM3, the Temecula City Council on Tuesday evening will be discussing possible changes to the city’s ordinance that regulates marijuana.

The start time for the meeting, which will be held in the Civic Center’s chambers, was moved up to 6 p.m. to accommodate the larger-than-normal number of people that are expected to speak on the item.

The city’s current rules allow¬†personal cultivation, both indoors and outdoors, of up to 12 cannabis plants by qualified patients and their primary caregivers if certain criteria is met. Consistent with state law, personal cultivation for recreational use is limited to six cannabis plants indoors, according to the staff report.

Storefront dispensaries and deliveries for recreational use are currently not allowed but there are advocates for both who have been pressing the city to ease the current restrictions and reap the benefits of the sales tax revenue those uses could generate.

The poll numbers, according to the staff report, show those advocates are in the minority:

“Where Ordinance No. 17-02 and the polling results seem to differ is in regards to laboratory testing. The existing ordinance prohibits laboratory testing within the city. This … is in contrast to the polling results, which indicate that 68 percent of respondents support laboratories that test cannabis and related products for safety and quality, but do not sell directly to customers. All other existing prohibitions defined by Ordinance No. 17-02 regarding commercial cannabis activities are generally supported by the poll respondents.”

If the council decides to entertain changes to the ordinance, it may authorize the staging of workshops throughout the city to gauge public sentiment. The cost for that outreach could run around $10,000. If the council decides to stand pat, there would be no fiscal impact aside from the cost of the survey.

In Murrieta, the council discussed, but never ended up approving, any additional regulations covering cultivation, which means that city’s residents are allowed by state law to grow six plants for recreational or medical use indoors or outdoors in a covered, locked space.

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