This Might Just Be L.A. County's First City to Permit Pot Cultivation

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Star Foreman/L.A. Weekly

UPDATE at 11:18 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016: The city approved cultivation and production permits. See details at the bottom. First posted at 3:12 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016.

The city of Lynwood is on the verge of becoming the first city in L.A. County to permit marijuana cultivation under new state rules.

The City Council is scheduled to take up the matter at its meeting tonight. The ordinance "would permit business activities related to the cultivation and manufacturing of medical cannabis subject to obtaining a permit with the city and satisfying all applicable local and state protection measures and rules," a summary of the proposal states.

Dale Gieringer, state coordinator of California NORML, says the law could feasibly allow weed cultivation even before the first state permits are issued in 2018. "Until state licenses are issued, people can legally operate under the old system as collectives or cooperatives — under the state attorney general's guidelines," he said.

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California NORML says it's encouraging cities to start their approval processes ahead of the state's 2018 issuance of permits, since businesses will need local permission before they seek the state's blessing. "What they're doing in Lynwood is quite sensible," Gieringer said.

Other cities, like Los Angeles, have so far banned cultivation, though that could change. L.A. County also has banned growing in the unincorporated communities it oversees.

Attorney Aaron Herzberg of marijuana real estate firm CalCann Holdings says the Lynwood law would allow five businesses to hold local marijuana permits. He says the lucky operators would be able to switch to recreational marijuana usesshould California voters legalize it in November.

"All facilities approved for medical marijuana will be grandfathered in to allow for licensing under Proposition 64 (recreational marijuana) if it passes on Nov. 8, 2016," according to a statement from Herzberg's office.

The Lynwood ordinance would also allow manufacturing and "extraction" to create more potent forms of marijuana-related drugs, such as concentrates, according to our reading of the attorney's analysis.

Herzberg's statement says Lynwood is poised to become the "first city in Los Angeles county to allow cultivation, manufacturing and extraction including volatile compounds and distribution of cannabis."

"All facilities are required to be 600 feet away from schools, daycare centers or youth centers and 50 feet away from any residential zones," according to the statement.

If the ordinance passes tonight, a second and final reading would be scheduled for Sept. 20. It is expected that, shortly afterward, prospective growers can start applying for permits.

CalCann Holdings says it already has a few suitable properties available. More information on that can be found here.

We reached out to multiple Lynwood city officials to try to get some clarification about the proposal but no one got back to us.

ADDED at 5:08 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016: Lynwood Mayor Pro-Tem Aide Castro says she supports having cultivation facilities along the city's portion of the county's industrial Alameda Corridor

But the councilwoman said she would propose extending the buffer zone between any possible cultivators and schools or daycare centers to 1,000 feet.

"We don't want to be the next Humboldt County," Castro said. "But we want the opportunity to generate revenue and control cultivation at a local level."

UPDATE at 11:18 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016: The council voted 3-to-2 to approve the cultivation and production permits, as described above. The original 600-foot school buffer was retained in the language. 


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