A workshop scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, March 20, could determine whether and how the Riverside County Board of Supervisors allows marijuana-related commerce in the county’s unincorporated communities.
The public workshop, slated to start at 1:30 p.m. in the first-floor board chambers, 4080 Lemon St. in Riverside, “will be an opportunity for board members to discuss whether they wish to leave existing ordinances about cannabis in place or make changes,” said county spokesman Ray Smith.
“If board members are inclined to make any changes regarding cannabis in the unincorporated county, the staff report will include options for their consideration.”
What comes out of the workshop could mark a departure from a course the five-member board set last August, when supervisors asked staff to begin crafting rules that would allow marijuana dispensaries and pot-related businesses in unincorporated areas, where they are currently banned.
The 2016 passage of Prop. 64, which legalized recreational marijuana in California, lets cities and counties decide whether to allow the marijuana trade in their jurisdictions and, with voter consent, to impose local taxes on marijuana sales. Fifty-one percent of voters in unincorporated areas voted for Prop 64 compared to 57 percent statewide.
Half of Riverside County’s 28 cities allow some kind of cannabis business to operate in their borders, according to The Cannifornian’s searchable database of local marijuana policies.
The most cannabis-friendly cities in the county are Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Moreno Valley, Palm Desert, Lake Elsinore and Blythe. Those cities allow several types of operations, from cultivation to distribution. However, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and Blythe are still getting their permitting programs in place, so no industry businesses are licensed yet in those cities.
While there’s not a lot of enthusiasm on the board for legalized marijuana, the thinking has been that the county needs rules in place