Encinitas voters, instead of the City Council, will be the ones deciding whether to allow commercial marijuana growing operations on the city's few agriculturally zoned lands. And for now, until that likely November 2018 ballot measure, the city's current bans on marijuana will remain in place, the council decided late Wednesday night. Cities across California have been grappling with the issue of marijuana regulations ever since voters approved the marijuana legalization initiative Proposition 64 last year.
The intensity of the debate has only increased in recent months as the January 2018 state deadline for putting regulations in place approaches. Last month, San Diego City Council voted to legalize both cultivation and manufacturing, while Poway decided to continue its bans on cultivation, manufacturing and establishing dispensaries.
Encinitas, which has a long agricultural heritage and is famous for starting the nation's poinsettia industry, began exploring the idea of allowing commercial marijuana growing operations months ago after one of the city's longtime flower growers -- Bob Echter of Dramm & Echter Inc. -- asked the city to consider it, saying it would allow him to diversify his business and help preserve the city's agricultural heritage.