Huntington Beach

Cannabis vote before council

HUNTINGTON BEACH CITY COUNCIL on Tuesday will consider a zoning text amendment to allow for the sales of cannabis products in the city (Shutterstock).

For the first time, cannabis may be legal to buy and sell in the city of Huntington Beach.

Tonight (Tuesday) the  city council will consider a zoning amendment whereby the retail of cannabis will be permitted at certain locations, after an ordinance on whether to allow the taxation of cannabis sales.

However, Measure 0, which would authorize a tax on cannabis,  has received 36,381 affirmative votes from Surf City in the Nov. 8 general election, a majority of 54.24% (as of this writing). To pass the measure needs 55% plus one vote, according to the city clerk’s office. Votes are still being counted.

If the zoning amendment goes through, a number of restrictions would be placed on where cannabis retail can occur. It would not be sold within 1000 feet of any school, within 600 feet of parks, day care centers, or youth centers, nor in the downtown and Sunset Beach areas. Retail of cannabis would be permitted in storefronts, while retailers in industrial zones would have the ability to deliver cannabis to customers.

In addition to advice from the subcommittee, the city council has formulated the proposed amendment based on a series of comments from the public. 

Several people are happy to allow cannabis retailers to set up shop if they maintain a distance from schools and parks, and see the benefit of added tax revenue that regulatedsales will provide to the city.

“We do use cannabis in the city of HB,” wrote resident Heather Trudnich in a July, 2022 e-mail, “and we’re losing tons of money by dragging behind the times.”

However, others worry about a possible increase in crime and vagrancy, and the possibility that greater acceptance of the joint or the bong will allow cannabis to act as a “gateway” to harder drugs.

“Some say it will generate tax revenue,” wrote Russ Talbot, “but at what price? The price will be the further diminishing of public safety in our family friendly community.”

The city council will meet at 6 p.m. at the Civic Center, 2000 Main St.. Those hoping to voice an opinion on where cannabis should and should not be sold will be able to speak during the public comments section.

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