Recent surveys have found that a majority of Thousand Oaks residents favor the city reversing its ban on medical marijuana dispensaries and deliveries.
The City Council will consider doing so at its meeting Tuesday night.
The council currently prohibits all medical and nonmedical commercial marijuana operations in response to California laws that have legalized such operations but that give cities the option of forbidding them.
The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2016, established state licensing for the commercial cultivation, manufacture, retail sale, transport, distribution, delivery and testing of medical marijuana.
Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act that was approved in the Nov. 6 general election, legalized recreational marijuana for people 21 years or older and allows nonmedical marijuana to be sold by state-licensed dispensaries.
But because cities can prohibit all medical and nonmedical commercial marijuana operations within their boundaries, the state will not issue any license without local approval.
Thousand Oaks’ regulations do not ban personal indoor use of marijuana or the indoor cultivation of up to six marijuana plants, which, under Proposition 64, local jurisdictions cannot prohibit. The proposition gave cities the option of allowing outdoor cultivation of the plants, but Thousand Oaks has thus far decided to prohibit that.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, city staff will seek “City Council direction on whether to initiate a Municipal Code amendment to establish a regulatory framework allowing commercial marijuana activities,” Geoff Ware, the city’s code compliance manager, wrote in a staff report he prepared. “City Council has the ability to continue the current prohibitions related to commercial marijuana.”
Two recent surveys found that a majority of Thousand Oaks residents favor allowing medical marijuana dispensaries and deliveries in the city, but not nonmedical marijuana dispensaries and deliveries or commercial cultivation of marijuana on private property.
The first phase of the 2017 Community Attitude Survey was conducted in March with a random sample of 567 Thousand Oaks residents.
It found that 56 percent of those surveyed favored medical marijuana dispensaries, while 38 percent did not. Sixty-three percent favored medical marijuana deliveries, while 30 percent were opposed.
Only 39 percent favored nonmedical marijuana dispensaries, as opposed to 55 percent who did not. Thirty-six percent favored nonmedical marijuana deliveries, but 57 percent were opposed. Thirty-seven percent favored commercial cultivation on private property, while 58 percent did not.
The percentage totals do not add up to 100 percent because the small minority of respondents who replied not sure/no answer were not included in the staff report, Ware said.
The second phase was an online survey conducted from April to June with 1,628 Thousand Oaks respondents who were “self-selected,” not randomly selected, Ware noted in his report. As a result, the second phase’s findings are not considered as statistically significant as the first phase’s results, Ware wrote. Still, the second phase’s results were generally consistent with those of the first phase, he wrote.
Another online survey was open to anybody — not just Thousand Oaks residents — and hence was “not statistically valid,” Ware noted. It netted 1,031 respondents, majorities of whom were in support of all commercial marijuana operations, both medical and nonmedical.
The highest majorities were 80 percent in favor of medical marijuana dispensaries and 82 percent in favor of medical marijuana deliveries.
At the council’s March 28 meeting, a majority of the public who spoke on the issue favored medical marijuana dispensaries and deliveries.
The council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in its City Hall chambers, 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard.