The West Hollywood City Council will devote most of its Monday meeting to a study session regarding the regulation of cannabis sales in the city.
The session will include several experts who can respond to questions from council members about regulations in other places and other issues. They are Amanda Ostrowitz of CannaRegs, Trent Woloveck of TGS Management and Ginny Sawyer of the City of Fort Collins, all from Colorado, a state that legalized recreational use of cannabis early on, and Cat Packer of the California Drug Policy Alliance and Julia Sylva, an attorney for both cities and cannabis operators in California.
The meeting, which will take place in the City Council Chambers at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., will begin at 5 p.m. rather than the traditional time of 6:30 p.m. As usual, there will be a period for public comment. The council will begin the meeting with a vote to confirm restriction of parking between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. on Romaine Street between Ogden Drive and Genessee Avenue to those with parking permits for that area and to enact a similar restriction regarding parking on the 1000 blocks of Hayworth and Edinburgh avenues. Daytime parking on those blocks will be limited to two hours for those without residential parking permits. The council also will consider a proposal to remove nighttime turn restrictions on Genesee Avenue and Spaulding Avenue.
With recreational use of marijuana becoming legal in California on Jan. 1, 2018, thanks to the passage of Prop 64 in November 2016, West Hollywood is one of a number of cities across the state deciding how to regulate the sale of cannabis.
The passage of the proposition means individual cities can make their own decisions on issues such as licensing retail marijuana stores, taxing marijuana sales, allowing on-site consumption, allowing home delivery of marijuana and allowing warehousing of marijuana. California cities have until Jan. 1 to enact local ordinances, otherwise, the state laws governing those matters will prevail.
Currently, West Hollywood law allows a maximum of four medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in the city. At a meeting in May, members of the City Council were open to the idea of having more than four retail marijuana businesses in the city. The city already has a list of people interested in opening retail marijuana shops.
As for locations of the retail businesses, the City Council agreed at the May meeting that they should only be on major commercial corridors, which is also a requirement for the existing medical marijuana dispensaries, all of which are on Santa Monica Boulevard. City regulations require those dispensaries to be at least 1,000 feet apart from each other and none can be within 500 feet of a church/temple, school, day-care center or playground. However, the state regulations regarding locations would extend the distance from schools, playgrounds and parks to 600 feet.
For those attending the meeting, parking in the five-structure building behind the Council Chambers is free with a ticket validated at the meeting. Because of work being done on the adjacent West Hollywood Library building this weekend, access to the parking structure will be available only along Melrose Lane, the alley just to the south of the Council Chambers building, which is entered off San Vicente.