Whittier leaders considered Tuesday reversing the city’s ban on medical marijuana dispensaries; but much to the dismay of a dozen pro-cannabis residents who stayed until 11 p.m. for the discussion, the City Council decided to nix the subject.
“We are no longer living in a time of reefer madness but in a time of science, technology and statewide legal cannabis,” resident Christine Singer-Luna said in championing change.
Officially, what the council did was to “receive and file” the report presented by Whittier’s director of community development, Conal McNamara. It offered several tacks the council could take, including recommendations for permitting and regulating medical marijuana dispensaries.
The council members’ action essentially means they acknowledged the report but may not be taking further action.
Last year, city leaders banned recreational pot dispensaries and the public’s ability to grow marijuana plants in Whittier. The vote was in response to the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016, the state initiative that legalized the adult possession, cultivation and sale of marijuana in California.
After last year’s ban, the council asked city staff to bring back information about legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries. McNamara’s report was in response to the request.
Council members said the report fell short in providing enough facts about medical marijuana.
“What the conversation needed to be is that if we want to explore the idea of medical marijuana, what are the pros, what are the cons, what is the research, what data is out there, what scientific studies have taken place,” Mayor Pro Tem Josué Alvarado said.
Council members Cathy Warner, Fernando Dutra and Mayor Joe Vinatieri were adamant: They do not support the legalization of medical marijuana.
“From my perspective, is a medical marijuana dispensary going to add a benefit to increase the