Avalon gaining allies in opposing pot rule changes


Proposed changes in state cannabis regulations that sent Catalina Island officials into a panic have run into serious opposition elsewhere, putting their fate and potential passage in real jeopardy.

When Proposition 64 was originally passed, voters approved a measure that allowed for legal pot sales across the state and local governments were given the power to set their own rules, including the prohibition of sales.

But state officials are now, however, proposing changes to the business and professions code, which “shall not prevent delivery of cannabis or cannabis products on public roads” by a licensed operator, a proposal that has sparked a firestorm of controversy. The state Bureau of Cannabis Control, which oversees the marijuana market, has said the proposed rule is merely clarifying what has always been the case: a licensed pot delivery can be made to “any jurisdiction within the state.”

While this proposal potentially has impact on Catalina Island, it is some other provisions within the Bureau’s new proposals that specifically concern Avalon.

The proposed rule changes seem to also prevent carriage of marijuana over water or through the air, which for Catalina, would obviously become a problem. Federal laws, for which enforcement is still possible, though not likely, also prevent carriage of the drug across federal waters, so if the new state regulations are adopted, there would be some questions about legal ways to transport pot to the island.

The ironic fact remains that, under California state law, citizens on Catalina have a legal right to possess and consume marijuana yet getting it to the island would be a problem if the new rules are passed.

Island officials are considering asking the state for a “carve out” in the proposed regulations, meaning if they move forward with the proposals, they will ask for special language to allow for the proper delivery to Catalina Island.

Based on recent action around the state, however, Avalon officials have reason to be encouraged yet are watching carefully as other organizations have begun to actively oppose the new regulations.

The California Police Chiefs Association, League of California Cities and United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council have set up a website asking citizens to sign a petition to oppose the new regulations

Experts say the new regulations are likely to end up in court, yet a spokesman for the Avalon City Council confirmed that they officially registered their opposition to the measure in a letter to the State Bureau of Cannabis Control on Aug. 24.


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