The Berkeley, California City Council has approved a measure allowing on-site cannabis consumption at dispensaries that install a ventilation system, according to a Bay City News report. The changes also allow up to seven cannabis delivery services in the city.
In a report to the council, city staff members said the reforms were necessary because cannabis consumption is illegal in public spaces, in many apartments, and at most businesses.
“Providing a place to consume cannabis legally is important for patients who have no other options,” the staff said in the report.
Following the vote, the Berkeley Patients Group, reportedly the oldest dispensary in the nation, thanked the councilors for their “diligence and thoughtfulness” adding that the officials “have shaped the most progressive cannabis regulations in the country.”
In 2018, the city council passed a resolution making it the first cannabis sanctuary city in the U.S., barring local law enforcement officials from working with the federal government to enforce federal cannabis laws. A month after passing the landmark sanctuary legislation, the council reduced its sales tax on cannabis from 10 percent to 5 percent.
“We’d also like to thank the staff, who spent three years researching and developing their prudent recommendations for a post-legalization world.” – Berkeley Patients Group, in a statement, via Bay City News
The measure was opposed by the Berkeley Community Health Commission because of secondary exposure and impaired driving risks. The commission also asserted that public cannabis consumption undermines city smoke-free air policies promotes the normalization of smoking.
California’s legalization law allows social use but the regulations must be approved by municipalities before any on-site consumption can occur. According to a Freedom Leaf report, San Francisco, West Hollywood, Cathedral City, Emeryville, Lompoc, Eureka, and Ukiah also allow social cannabis use; however, at least a third of California cities and towns have barred recreational cannabis operations.
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