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Why can't I purchase recreational cannabis in Marin County? Untangling Prop 64

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If you live in Marin County and want to consume cannabis bought in Marin, you still have to possess a medical recommendation.

 Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

WARNING!!! Attempts to understand the legal jargon associated with regulating Proposition 64 is cause for confusion, dizziness, and the occasional headache. Luckily, you’ve got us, Nice guys here to summarize the regulations so you can get back to the inhalations and doing what you enjoy most, like an adventurous hike on Mount Tamalpais, or a beautiful evening walk through Marin.

Here’s the scoop

In 2016, Prop 64 was approved by 57% of state voters, with nearly 70% of Marin County voters in support of the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).”

Recreational cannabis has been legal in the state of California since January 1st, 2018 when the bill went into effect, allowing anyone 21 years and older to carry up to an ounce of marijuana, or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis, and also allowing an individual to cultivate up to 6 plants per residence. Medical card holders are still protected under Proposition 215 so nothing really changed for you.

In the process of legalizing AUMA the state gave regulatory power over to the cities and counties and not all of them permit retail sales of cannabis, creating a lot of confusion. In fact, according to a study conducted by Southern California News Group and other Digital First newspapers, “fewer than 1 in 3 California cities allow any kind of cannabis business to operate in their borders. And just 18 of the state’s 58 counties permit cannabis businesses in unincorporated areas. Fewer than 1 in 5 California cities welcome medical marijuana dispensaries, while fewer than 1 in 7 allow recreational cannabis stores.”

What it means locally

“In Marin, Tiburon, Ross, Mill Valley and San Anselmo have approved prohibitions against recreational marijuana business activity which includes a ban on brick-and-mortar pot shops. Larkspur, Corte Madera, Fairfax, San Rafael and Novato have enacted temporary moratoriums on the pot trade, buying time to develop permanent ordinances. Recreational cannabis sales have also been prohibited in unincorporated Marin,” according to an article in the Marin IJ.

If you live in Marin you’re going to have to travel out-of-county to grab some herb or possess a card and receive your products from one of the 4 licensed delivery services located in San Rafael, California. Each city and county have its own set of ordinances, with Unincorporated Marin and San Rafael as the only two jurisdictions in Marin allowing cannabis business licenses at this time.

Although adult-use sales are currently banned throughout Marin, regulators are taking steps to move in that direction, albeit slowly. In Novato, where last year City Council adopted “an urgency moratorium on cannabis activity, which expires in November,” city officials want to talk about cannabis regulations and are asking for community engagement. They’ve launched an outreach plan organized into three workshops, aimed at collecting feedback, educating people on the industry, and focusing on public safety and enforcement. The first workshop took place on July 21st, but you can still attend the remaining two which are Aug. 8th from 6-8pm at Novato City Hall and Aug.16th 6-8pm at City Hall. The best way to impact change is by showing up to these events and speaking your mind. We also recommend writing letters and calling local government officials to express your opinions.

If you’re a Marin resident in need of a card you can easily obtain one by scheduling an online doctor’s appointment by clicking here.


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