Fillmore’s City Council slammed the door on commercial marijuana growth at its Oct. 10 meeting, voting 4-1 to keep its pre-existing ban on medical marijuana businesses in place.
“It will be an outright ban except what’s allowed by the state,” said City Manager David Rowlands.
The council floated consideration of commercial growth last year when Fillmore residents approved two referendums in November allowing the maximum tax rates to be charged for commercial growth and sale of medical marijuana.
But despite any economic incentive, the council “looked at it and decided it wasn’t something they wanted to enter into at this time,” said Rowlands.
Fillmore’s decision comes as Ventura County cities continue to grapple with the passage of Prop. 64, which allows adults to buy marijuana for recreational use and legalizes commercial growth.
Passed by voters in November, the new law lets people raise up to six plants and carry up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use.
But county boards and city halls can regulate personal and commercial — that is, medicinal — growth and use. Most Ventura County cities have opted for cautious implementation of the law.
Fillmore has followed the example of Camarillo, where officials have barred commercial growth and strictly limited recreational use to the absolute minimum allowed by the state.
Ventura City Council voted unanimously on Oct. 9 to allow delivery of medical marijuana from other Ventura County communities, but to bar dispensaries in city limits or delivery from other counties.
Meanwhile Port Hueneme City Council tentatively approved permits for two dispensaries with final approval expected at its next meeting.
City Councilman Jim Hensley reports that Port Hueneme — the only city in Ventura County to fully embrace the law’s money-making prospects — is already seeing benefits since approving its marijuana ordinance on June 5.
“Real estate values have doubled, three new buildings have been purchased by organizations” with interest in medical research and development as well as growth, Hensley said in a recent phone conversation.
Hensley said that one business moving to Port Hueneme is doing research into cancer treatment with cannabis, and another makes marijuana-based products like cookies, candies and soft drinks.
Hensley said that he thinks Ventura County’s Board of Supervisors and City Councils are uncertain what direction to go in since Prop. 64’s passage and are looking at Port Hueneme as a test case.
“When they see what’s happening here, they’ll jump on the bandwagon,” said Hensley.