With the state of California bracing itself for the impending impact of recreational cannabis, local municipalities are rushing to implement their own regulations before the green wave hits the shores of The Left Coast. While officials in Los Angeles County have been working on restrictions for legal retail stores, Long Beach lawmakers are instead focused on quelling the ever-persistent black market.
On Tuesday, the City Council will discuss a proposed amendment that would allow officials greater ability to penalize illegal canna-businesses and grows. These additional enforcement tools were proposed by local councilwoman Suzie Price, and will aim to “limit the detrimental effects” of illegal marijuana establishments that have a negative effect on city resources and Long Beach communities.
The proposed ordinance would essentially increase the punishment that can be inflicted on non-licensed cannabis operations. Long Beach leaders would be allowed to disconnect the gas, water, and electricity from any property that is considered home to an illegal marijuana business.
Long Beach’s city attorney would also be granted the ability to file lawsuits for injunctive relief, permitting the court to penalized non-licensed business with a maximum civil penalty of $5,000 per violation for each day of operation. Individuals and commercial sites caught running illegal pot establishments would also risk being banned from owning any legal marijuana-related business in the future.
This amendment has been proposed on the heels of Measure MM, a voter-approved bill that repealed a previously held ban on local medical marijuana businesses. The City Council openly expressed fear that allowing licensed medical cannabis operations would pave the way for illegal operations throughout Long Beach.
Now, with this ordinance at the table, local leaders are seeking out the proper tools that will enable them to prosecute and shut down businesses that aren’t operating in accordance with the law.