The Council will consider a number of questions related to the regulation of recreational marijuana in the City, such as:
- Whether existing medical marijuana cooperatives should also be allowed to sell recreational marijuana;
- Whether to limit the number of recreational marijuana dispensaries;
- Whether to regulate where recreational marijuana dispensaries can be located;
- Whether restaurants or nightclubs can sell marijuana-related products, such as edible pastries or THC-laced cocktails; and,
- Whether marijuana smoking should be allowed where tobacco smoking is allowed.
Weed is big business, and can bring a lot of revenue to the city, as well as some public safety and quality of life concerns.
Twenty years ago, the City of West Hollywood embraced medical marijuana as a treatment for side effects of the AIDS cocktails and as a middle finger to puritanical middle America, and developed a model ordinance for the regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries. Yet today, the City seems to be behind the 8-Ball, catching up to the change by discussing regulation just months before an ordinance must be passed and recreational marijuana is legal in California starting in 2018.
At its core, however, this discussion is about more than just weed, it is about the future of our City.
West Hollywood is being torn between its historical libertarian instincts and rising puritanical forces. Homeowners and developers no doubt agree that less is more when it comes to marijuana dispensaries in the City and will weigh heavily on the City Council, as they always do.
There used to be a time when West Hollywood was easily America’s Funnest City–with Rock and Roll on the Sunset Strip and a veritable Gay Disneyland on Santa Monica Boulevard. But the Strip has been converted into Hotels and high-end restaurants with only a few of the old nightclubs surviving, and Santa Monica Boulevard risks the same fate if it is ignored.
West Hollywood could become America’s Highest City, if it wanted–and market marijuana tourism like it was Amsterdam in the 1990’s–or it could, “just say no”… But we will get some idea of which forces will prevail when council discusses the matter on Monday.