Lead Story West Edition

Compton voters to decide on two marijuana measures

COMPTON — Legal sales of marijuana in California began this month, but the city of Compton still bans dispensaries and other marijuana businesses.

However, that could change soon. On Jan. 23, the city is having a special election on marijuana.

Under the new state law — Proposition 64, approved by voters in November 2016 — the use of recreational marijuana is legal for adults 21 and older. It not only makes possession for people 21 and over acceptable, but anyone with a past marijuana-related offense can apply to have it reduced or expunged entirely.

Proposition 64 also allows indoor personal cultivation of up to six plants, prohibits outdoor personal cultivation, allows people to have up to 28.5 grams of plant and 8 grams of concentrate.

It also allows local taxation and regulation.

The two initiatives on Compton’s special election ballot are Measure C, placed by the Compton City Council and Measure I, placed by a petitioners’ initiative.

So what’s the difference between the two?

Measure C permits commercial cannabis activity, has a 10 percent business tax, doesn’t have cultivation revenue, will adhere to state law, has a 30 percent local hiring program and a labor peace agreement and complies with zoning.

Measure I has some exact regulations, but has a 5 percent business tax, cultivation revenue and no local hiring plan.

Measure C allows dispensaries to be 1,000 feet from schools, active churches, parks, child care and community centers.

Measure I would make it 600 feet from public schools and no other locations have been determined.

The measure lets the minimum number of cannabis dispensaries to be seven and maximum to be 10 – it can increase based on population growth.

Measure C would be stricter with a minimum of one and a maximum of 10 – and it would stay at 10. Under this measure, the City Council would have the ability to amend codes to protect public health, safety and welfare.

Under Measure I, the City Council wouldn’t have that power.

Dispensaries — operating prior to Measure I — are eligible to obtain a cannabis license in the city of Compton. Under Measure C, they would not.

Finally, Measure I would allow commercial indoor cultivation — no outdoor. Measure C wouldn’t allow either — the city would have control over the implementation. There would be limited control over the implementation under Measure I.

When it comes to zoning, Measure C offers limited commercial (C-L), while Measure I also allows that and commercial manufacturing (C-M), limited manufacturing (M-L), and heavy manufacturing (M-H).

If the majority votes no on both ballot measures, Compton maintains its ban. Yet, if the majority votes ‘yes’ on either measure, they will both take effect.

Some local residents aren’t anti-marijuana, but don’t favor either measure. The group sent out a newsletter titled: “Compton: People are Talking Marijuana.”

It writes Measure I is for imbeciles and Measure C is for city or corruption.

“The problem with Measure I and Measure C and why the citizens of Compton should wait even if they desire to have marijuana businesses in Compton is because both measures are flawed and badly written and conceived. “

Some of those flaws listed are:

•There is no Compton residency requirement so outsiders may end up owning everything.

•There is no social equity component to guarantee 50 percent minority ownership as other cities have included as remuneration for the war on drugs. Compton suffered horrifically but nothing is included to assure minorities get in on the ground floor of this industry in this city.

•Non-violent drug offenders and parolees cannot be employed, manage, or own in the city of Compton, in an industry they literally created as upwards of 50 percent of black and Latino males perhaps may have a record.

• There are no caps on the number of non-retail businesses so Compton may be over run.

•There are no adequate protections for schools given businesses can be within 600 feet when Compton’s prior law stated 1,000 feet.

The newsletter also claims Mayor Aja Brown is a supporter and advocate of bringing the marijuana industry to Compton. The Wave tried to contact Brown for comment, but she did not respond.

No matter how the vote turns out, residents should still be aware of rules for personal use. You can be drug tested and still be fired by your employer, who can still enforce “zero-tolerance” drug policies.

Driving under the influence is still illegal and consumption in the vehicle is not allowed. Proposition 64 also prohibits public consumption of marijuana.

To read the voter education guide for the January 23 election, visit: http://www.comptoncity.org/civicax/inc/blobfetch.aspx?BlobID=28331