WeHo City Council Members May Be Flying High on City Business

cannabis, flying, travel, marijuana
West Hollywood City Council members soon may be flying high on city business. The Council on Monday will consider authorizing the payment for or reimbursement of expenses that Council members incur while traveling to cannabis manufacturing, testing and retail locations and to meet with experts in the cannabis industry in Colorado and elsewhere.

West Hollywood currently is studying ways it could regulate the manufacture, sale and use of recreational marijuana. Such uses were approved with the passage in 2016 of Proposition 64, which legalizes recreational marijuana use in California beginning Jan. 1, 2018. Last month the Council held a special session with experts on the matter and how it is dealt with in states such as Colorado, where recreational marijuana use became legal in January 2014.

California cities have until Jan. 1 to enact local ordinances, otherwise, the state laws governing those matters will prevail.

A statement from City Manager Paul Arevalo recommending such travel reimbursement notes that he and city staffers are planning to visit cannabis facilities meet with experts on the matter. “The first scheduled trip is to Colorado to tour manufacturing and retail locations in the Denver region,” the statement says. “Potential future trips could involve observing cannabis consumption facilities, delivery services, or testing laboratories either in Colorado or other states. Council members have expressed interest in attending such trips in order to observe existing operations and become better educated on best practices in the cannabis industry.”

Arevalo’s statement notes the city’s travel expense reimbursement policy authorizes compensating city staff and elected officials for travel whose purpose is “communicating with representatives of regional, state and national government on City-adopted policy positions; attending educational seminars or conferences; attending city-sponsored or organized events and meetings; or representing the City at ceremonial events or legal proceedings. Expenditures incurred in connection with activities or events not listed in the Policy, not listed in the approved City budget, or foreseeably exceeding $5,000, require prior approval by the City Council.”

“The proposed trip to Colorado and anticipated future trips related to West Hollywood’s cannabis ordinance are not explicitly outlined as an eligible expense,” the statement says.

The Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the City Council Chambers at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. Parking is available in the five-story structure behind the Council Chambers and is free with a ticket validated at the Council meeting.

  1. If John Duran could separate his thoughts from the economic benefits of this concept, it would be good to hear his opinion as to the concept of sobriety and what exponential effects this will have on the population of the drug infused culture WeHo seems to obliquely underwrite.

  2. As Big Pharma ruins the lives of American citizens driving them to the poorhouse on a route through fear, they waltzer to the bank and party in. Now proponents of marijuana want a piece of the pie. Will folks wake up and take responsibility for their own health and lives?

  3. Oy Vey said it best. As a property owner for over 20 years in West Hollywood this is just ridiculous when there are far more pressing matters that staff and council have ignored. Again this is stupid when the data and more is already here in the county. It’s an excuse for an unnecessary expense but given the apathy of this town and the anemic voter turnout they will do what they want without regard to tac payers. This is a legitimate concern as to the priorities of staff and their lack of knowledge when we have labs, research and growers within 100 miles of city hall. Disgusted that so much of West Hollywood looks like a tenement with outdated and worn out facades, people sleeping in front of CVS and in public garages etc. you have seen more cars broken into and an increase in meth use. Where is the staff on these less glamourus issues? Probably at lunch at The Abbey or Connie and Ted’s

  4. One thing is certain. If the city spends money on anything, people with complain. It doesn’t matter what it is. Travel or meals for staff, parks, improvements to crosswalks, a new parking lot at Crescent Heights … anything … people will complain, and say it is a “waste of resources.” You can’t please everyone.

    And there are some people who will complain, no matter what.

  5. WeHo should be a “World Recreation Marijuana destination” . Are you kidding Jeffrey Ward?
    Proponents of this nutty plan have been smokin’ waaaaay too much dope. Clear the fog and get real. Marijuana is not a solution….only a step on the path to no solution to whatever causes one to smoke it to begin with. And Medical Marijuana? That was a sly path also avoiding other means available that have no addictive or harmful aspects whatsoever.

  6. I can see this, if we are to become a well respected and world leader in something we have had a hand in since the beginning, then it only makes sense to get the best education possible to do so. We should be a World Recreation Marijuana destination with safe and well regulated markets using only the best know how to gain and maintain that position in an ever increasing competitive market, we were first with Co-ops and Medical Marijuana and being at the forefront now only makes sense to me!

  7. Which council members do you think smoke bud? I’m guessing none of em, – but I think the information about how Colorado, Nevada, or others manages cannibus is public record, so are the state of California rules.. so we don’t have to go too far to develop our own plan. Isn’t this all about our own plan and not following the state mandated rules?

    1. It’s a poor excuse to squander our taxes. There is plenty of information on line and the state has rules and regs and growers and the rest. I don’t care to pay for these junkets for staff that aren’t even qualified to address the underlying issues. Within driving distance are labs and plenty of dispenceries that have been hauling in millions over the last several years so it’s good to regulate it and taxbit but no trips no air fare no hotel no per diem! Take care of the homeless and the meth addicts walking around Santa Monica boulevard and focus on the long term issues as a result of so many people sleeping on our streets

  8. Are we for real, with all the challenges we got in our city???
    Let’s take care of how to get to ZERO METH & HEROIN first what kill our community slowly.
    We must have straight our priorities.
    A “POT” TRIP.
    Please. WAKE UP, Stop our “leaders” for spending our money.

  9. Oy Vey
    There is NO testing of the pot for sale in California for pesticides/insecticides/Fungicides/chemical or organic fertilizer residue that everyone smokes. No law to do so either. Just a few samples are tested, but too expensive to do wide scale, so we wonder why California and possibly weho has NO interest in providing chemical free weed to the masses, just how much the city/state will profit in taxes on this contaminated toxic product, sellers also do not care. This is really bad stuff entering the pot system on a large scale. Test what is sold in weho now, see how toxic it is, why is it sold without being tested, it takes more than just software.
    Also, electricity is a HUGE factor and cost in growing weed, lights, pumps, air filtration systems, and it is just way too expensive to grow where electricity is sky high, like California. Grow indoors to not use pesticides, that stuff from Humboldt County, grown outdoors, full of bugs and mites and worms and fungus and/or pesticides, let Colorado have it, not good for Californians.

    1. Mick Mann, actually the State of California has issued testing and safety regulations for medical cannabis per the 2015 MRSCA legislation, which takes effect in 2018. This was included in Prop 64’s Adult Use (I.e. Recreational use) law passed by the State’s electorate in November. Also, currently the City of Berkeley has strict testing standards for cannabis and enforces it through random sampling. Many quality cannabis cultivators who produce “organic” material have it tested and post those results. The States’s premier testing lab is in Monrovia (which NBC 4 used when they tested pot and found most of it failed). Cannabis manufacturers who produce clean vape have facilities in Sacramento and Coalinga. These are the facilities I recommended WeHo looks at vs. spending thousands of dollars to fly staff and Council Members to other States. In fact, many cities have passed their Commercial Cannabis ordinances without such extravagant boondoggles.

      All that said, you are indeed correct in that almost all of the pot sold today through dispensaries are produced by illegal opportunistic growers operating under shady legality. They use pesticides and any and all means possible to crank out the biggest yields. MRSCA and AUMA laws that take effect in 2018 will eventually stop these practices by requiring all producers, manufacturers, sellers, etc. be licensed by both the local cities in which they do
      business and by the State. This includes testing of all product and destruction of all that fails testing.

      So, the Wild West of medical pot we’ve had since 1996 will be coming to an end next year as it runs smack into the brick wall of major state and local regulation. Oh – and to boot, all illegal pot activity not licensed becomes felonies. So things are a’ chang’n.

  10. Marijuana is a drug and most people use it to get high–period. The idea of anyone looking into making it better or regulated or otherwise condoning its use is a waste of time and money.

  11. It’s like a bad joke. But financially, The City pays for needed travel.


    The City NEEDS EXPERT ADVICE. But such a true expert will give lessons based on how they do it in a totally different city/climate/Temperature, serious High Attitude issues as standard but which are all different in Greater Los Angeles.

    The “party bus in the air” full of Council Members can bring up what differenced the might realize, but to bring the expert to weho, thrusting him into a totally different growing conditions – and L.A.’ massive Car Culture Living and one of the most expensive cost of Property BUT With Ideal Growing Climate and California’s standing as the growers of something like 80% of the country’s staple fruits and vegetables.

    The expert when showing what to do, will stop before he does many more things that won’t be necessary due to the famous year round temperate Climate.

    After All, a contaminated empty lot is “appraised and valued” at $7,ooo,ooo.

    How much the price of land that can actually be used because there is no toxic waste … would be 2,3,4,5 times the price of our own experts buying an infirtil lot for $7 million.

    The party plane is both a waste of money, abd will provide lees knowledge, plus the excessive consumption of pot (after all the learning is done) Will be lost due to the record and court vases regarding inappropriate behavior time and again by some members of our City’s Leadership.

  12. This is a total waste of taxpayer money. Use skype. They don’t need to visit plants or farms or dispenceries. It’s so ridiculous. Does staff have such a serious disconnect with how our money is to be spent. Drive to Humboldt County on their own dime and see the farms and growers that essentially ship to Colorado. They have had dispensaries here for years and this is a boondoggle and ripoff and revealing the stupidity of staff on an issue where they can do this by Skype and phone conference calls. We will get stiffed with airfare per diem and more due to this goldbricking. Do something about the meth problem here, the homeless or the pot holes but not this scam

  13. While great the City is taking this effort to explore the industry, may I say what a total boondoggle and waste of our tax payer dollars. California already has all of the manufacturing, testing and track and trace software in-state. One of the best testing labs is in Glendale, grow facilities in Cathedral City, and manufacturing facilities in Sacramento and Coalinga. If they’re going to waste our tax payer money, please do it in our own State – not others. (And maybe put the savings into solving real issues in our City like the homeless sleeping in our doorsteps and stoops of our businesses…. seriously!)

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