Huntington Beach

Cannabis actions are slowing

RULES governing the sale and use of cannabis products are proving to be complicated in Huntington Beach.

By Jim Tortolano/Orange County Tribune

Movement toward legalizing the retail sale and other commercial uses of cannabis products slowed at Tuesday’s meeting of the Huntington Beach City Council.

What was at issue Tuesday was approval of resolutions to put cannabis sales – and taxes on them – before voters on the Nov. 8 ballot.

However, many of the details proved contentious and all the council could agree on was to advance the idea of taxation. Even that was approved only on a 5-2 vote with Councilmember Erik Peterson and Mike Posey voting against it.

Among the chief sticking points were “buffer zones” between cannabis uses – cultivation, manufacturing, retail sales for medicinal or recreational purposes – and other “sensitive” land uses, such aa schools, parks, youth centers.

Some council members felt there had been too little public outreach on such issues. “As a resident I never liked being blind-sided,” said Councilmember Kim Carr.

The level of taxation didn’t produce a consensus. It was argued that placing too high of a tax on cannabis products would make it more expensive than illegal “black market” items.

Possible tax rates range from 6 to 2 percent on various uses.

“I think this train needs to be slowed down,” said Posey.

Some of the same issues are expected to be taken up at the next council meeting on Aug. 8.

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