Illegal cannabis dispensaries fight for legalization in Pasadena– by upending existing laws – The Pasadena Star-News

Proponents of Pasadena’s illegal cannabis dispensaries are pushing for legalization.

Following a massive signature-gathering effort, they’ve opened the door for a measure on next year’s ballot which could upend the city’s carefully crafted laws around retail cannabis dispensaries. Those laws barred Pasadena’s illegal cannabis dispensaries from applying for retail permits.

Now proponents have penned a measure that wouldn’t just make illegal dispensaries legitimate, it would also exempt them from many of the rules that apply to legal retail shops.

After gathering more than 9,100 signatures — 600 more signatures than the state requires — the city and county certified the ballot initiative before it landed on the City Council’s dais this week.

The council had three options: Approve it as-is, kick it to voters in the next election or request a report from city staff. With a unanimous vote, the council opted for the third option.

Staff will prepare a report that examines all of the possible impacts if the proposed measure passes. It’ll be on council members’ desks next month, when they’ll have one more decision to make: Send it to the voters as-is or approve it right there.

If passed, whether by the voters or the council, the initiative would allow illegal cannabis dispensaries to operate without a permit until 2025. When operators do get the permit, the measure prohibits the city from “ordering such businesses to discontinue or modify their operations.”

The initiative would amend local zoning laws to eliminate restrictions prohibiting legal cannabis dispensaries from operating within 600 feet of schools, places of worship and residential properties “that apply to all other commercial cannabis businesses,” it reads.

Currently under Pasadena’s municipal code, every legal cannabis dispensary is required to have one of only six available permits. That would also change under the new initiative, because it would

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