Tuesday, November 21 , 2017, 8:25 pm | Fair 61º

 
 
 
 

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Goleta Residents Weigh In on Possible Marijuana Regulations

Legal pot could be lucrative for the city, but some citizens express concerns about impacts

Mark Miller, a longtime Goleta resident who lives next door to a marijuana greenhouse, told a workshop Monday night that he doesn’t believe marijuana belongs in residential neighborhoods. Click to view larger
Mark Miller, a longtime Goleta resident who lives next door to a marijuana greenhouse, told a workshop Monday night that he doesn’t believe marijuana belongs in residential neighborhoods. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Goleta is wrestling with how to regulate the manufacturing, distribution and sales of marijuana, a potentially lucrative source of revenue for the city.

"There are substantial opportunities to derive revenues out of this enterprise," said Winnie Cai, Goleta's deputy city attorney, at a workshop Monday night. 

About 75 people showed up at Goleta City Hall for the discussion on the matter.

The issue of how to regulate the legal use and sale of marijuana will go before the City Council on Sept. 5.

The California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation and other state agencies are crafting rules that would allow cities and counties to regulate marijuana use, after voters approved Prop. 64 in November 2016.

The state law allows individuals to grow up to six plants at home. Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, the state will allow businesses to obtain licenses to sell recreational marijuana. 

Goleta is trying to decide whether marijuana sales should be allowed within local commercial shopping areas, whether marijuana manufacturing and distribution should be allowed in the city, whether Goleta could require allowed businesses to obtain a license to operate, and whether the city should tax marijuana businesses. 

Fred Kapp, a patient who uses medical marijuana, said the time has long past to fear marijuana. Click to view larger
Fred Kapp, a patient who uses medical marijuana, said the time has long past to fear marijuana. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

At least one person who spoke at the meeting said marijuana doesn't belong in residential areas. 

"We're seeing people come into the neighborhood who I don't recognize anymore," said Mark Miller, a longtime Goleta resident, who said he lives next door to a greenhouse in a single-family neighborhood.

He said that his grandchildren frequently visit, adding, "We're getting secondhand smoke."

Medicinal marijuana business owner Elain Falstrom said the city needs to educate the public about the type of people who use marijuana.

"They are average people," Falstrom said. "They are your doctors, your lawyers your nurses. It's an option for many people if they choose not to use prescription drugs."

Ryan Howe, who owns a dispensary in Santa Barbara that will open in September, said Goleta is sitting on a goldmine if it chooses to regulate the drug.

"If you zone it properly, if you regulate it properly, it will be an enormous opportunity for the city of Goleta," Howe said. "It's a great industry for people doing it the right. "

Medicinal marijuana patient Fred Kapp said the time has long past to fear marijuana.

"The people have spoken," said Kapp, who lives with chronic pain from a curved spine and other health issues. He uses a cane to walk.

"We just have to work together."

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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