Clovis bans commercial marijuana operations ahead of Prop 64 vote

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Supporters said Proposition 64 would legalize pot and turn it into an industry capable of generating millions of dollars but several local cities want no part. (KFSN)

With a month left before election day, cities across the Valley are scrambling to make a decision on recreational marijuana. Supporters said Proposition 64 would legalize pot and turn it into an industry capable of generating millions of dollars but several local cities want no part.

In Clovis, the city council voted Monday night to ban commercial operations of recreational marijuana and two more Valley cities are on the verge of doing the same. While the future of recreational marijuana is up in the air, some California cities are preparing for its legalization and they are moving to ban and regulate the drug at lightning speed.

"We know that we are not going to keep it out of Hanford," city manager Darrel Pyle said. "But we don't have to condone or support that commercial type of operation."

Proposition 64 would allow adults over 21 to grow up to six plants but other restrictions are left up to cities. Already, Clovis extended regulation on medical marijuana patients to cover recreational pot users as well. The city also voted to ban commercial cultivation and distribution and Lemoore and Hanford are close behind.

"We are concerned about health and safety of residences and the neighbors," Hanford Police Chief Parker Sever said. "With marijuana grows there are a lot of obnoxious things that come with that, including smell the use of chemicals."

But some city council members disagree with the ban. They said economic benefits are too great to pass up, especially if neighboring towns welcome dispensaries with open arms.

"In my opinion, that's kind of restrictive," council member Billy Siegel said. "Especially when we are in a struggling general fund or looking for growth in revenue."

If Prop 64 passes, Siegel doesn't believe the city should interfere with state law and intervene in people's homes.

"I agree with taking this part of it slow," he said. "You don't know what to expect but it's a fine line."

Leaders from all three cities said they can revisit the issue later if Prop 64 does pass and many argue it's better to be stricter now and loosen up the rules down the road.

"There are a lot of revenue pluses," Pyle said. "But there are also a lot of social minuses from the mass recreational use."
Related Topics:
politicsmarijuanapoliticsfresno countyClovis
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