Modesto considers pot businesses

Modesto officials hold a public discussion on marijuana businesses in the city.
Modesto officials hold a public discussion on marijuana businesses in the city. The Associated Press

Modesto officials will have their second public discussion about allowing marijuana businesses and their economic impact on the city.

The City Council will hold a workshop Tuesday. Council members will take no formal action but could give staff direction on ordinances and policies they would like to see implemented. The workshop is open to the public.

The workshop is scheduled for 3 p.m., which is a new time. The city has held workshops after council meetings, which start at 5:30 p.m. Spokeswoman Amy Vickery said the city is trying the earlier time because council meetings and workshops had been running late into the evening. The workshop is in the basement chambers of Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St.

The council held a workshop in February to discuss what Modesto’s response should be to California voters approving Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, in November. The council said then it wanted to know more about allowing marijuana businesses and raising money through a sales tax on the drug.

The act allows for the personal use of marijuana by adults 21 and older. Adults can have as much as an ounce or 28.5 grams of and 8 grams of concentrated cannabis. And as many as six plants can be grown in a private residence, though that can be subject to local regulations.

The act also allows for commercial activities, including cultivation, manufacturing and distribution as well as retail sales. But the commercial activities won’t be legal without a state license. California expects to issue licenses in 2018, but local governments can ban or regulate commercial activities.

Tuesday’s discussion is expected to include what type of commercial activities Modesto might allow, the extent of these activities, their potential locations, the effects of allowing these businesses and raising money through a tax on the drug.

Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors Chairman Vito Chiesa expects to attend the workshop. He would like the county and its nine cities to work together on a unified response and regulations but said so far there has been no consensus. He said a ban is not the answer because marijuana businesses have opened here since Proposition 64’s passage.

Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316