Jurupa Valley residents hold the power to overturn the City Council’s unanimous anti-marijuana stance when they go to the polls on June 5 to vote for or against decriminalizing weed within their city limits.
Polling day spells a winner-take-all outcome. Voters will have one of two choices and whichever one receives more than half of the votes will become the law.
The scenario of whether or not Jurupa Valley goes “green” on that date boils down to one of two choices, namely Measure A or Measure B.
Measure A(pro-weed) will force the city council to allow marijuana enterprises to operate in its commercial-industrial zones.
Measure B (anti-weed) will allow the City Council to maintain its present stance of banning marijuana operatives.
Protagonists who are in favor of legal marijuana say that a controlled marketplace makes sense.
Regulations will ensure that weed businesses are patrolled and secure which, in turn, will ensure the safety of Jurupa Valley residents says Jason Thompson, the attorney handling the Measure A proposal.
He points out that this measure will help to eradicate illegal dispensaries operating within the city limits.Thompson believes that Jurupa Valley residents would prefer to deal with legal pot retail outlets because of safety precautions, such as security guards, that will have to be put into place.
The entire Jurupa Valley City Council is against legalizing weed and money appears to be one of the main issues clouding a pro-weed vote.
Measure A doesn’t make leeway for a local weed tax and the City Council will have to foot an annual bill of about $375,000 to employ additional law enforcement officers, as well as an additional administrative assistant in the City Clerk’s office, says City Attorney Peter Thorson.
In November last year the Jurupa Valley City Manager, Gary Thompson, stated that all marijuana dispensaries operating in the city were illegal in terms of an authorized city ordinance. However, in terms of proposition 64 relating to recreational use, residents are allowed to grow six plants subject to restrictions. Thompson warned that criminal proceedings would apply to anyone dispensing weed within the Jurupa Valley city boundaries.
Jurupa Valley background
Jurupa Valley became a city in its own right in 2011. It is part of the Riverside County in California and has a population in the region of 105,000, of whom about 45,000 are eligible to vote for or against legalizing weed on June 5.
City Council shuts down dispensaries
In the meantime, the City Council continues to shut down illegal dispensaries. There are an estimated 12 dispensaries currently operating illegally but that is a far cry from the 42 outlets that were operational when Jurupa Valley was incorporated as a city in 2011.
According to Councilman Verne Lauritzen, one of these illegal dispensaries is operating from a church.
Lauritzen gets a little hot under the collar when protagonists suggest that Jurupa Valley will become safer if weed becomes legal. He says there will be nothing positive for residents or their quality of life with a “proliferation” of drug dispensers dotted around the city.
Criteria if weed gets a nod of approval
If Jurupa Valley residents vote in favor of legalizing weed on June 5, dispensaries will have to operate in the city’s commercial-industrial zones and comply with certain requirements:
- They will have to comply with state laws
- They must employ at least one security guard during business hours
- Advertising will be restricted to one wall display sign
- Operating hours will be curtailed to 8 am to 10 pm
- They must maintain minimum overnight reserves of $200
- Only adults 21 years and older will be allowed on the premises
- Premises cannot be located within 1,000 feet of two or more marijuana outlets
- Dispensaries cannot be located 600 feet of a K-12 school – this does not apply to day-care and youth centers
Information is sketchy in terms of predicting which way the vote will go on June 5 but if current trends sweeping across the country are anything to go by, Jurupa Valley could be joining the “green” train very soon.
However, with the City Council in its entirety against marijuana, the vote could go either way but one thing is for sure – there’s a lot of lobbying going on in this Riverside County hot-spot at the moment.