Legalization News Politics

Montebello City Council election could decide fate of marijuana legalization

Montebello’s vote earlier this year to allow some types of marijuana businesses hangs in the balance this November with three City Council seats — a majority — up for grabs.

In two votes, on Feb. 28 and May 23, the council approved commercial indoor cultivation, manufacturing, testing of marijuana and home delivery businesses in the city. Currently, there are 36 applicants — none of whom have been approved — to open shop in Montebello.

But since those votes, the composition of the council has changed with Mayor Vanessa Delgado’s resignation to become a state senator.

The council is now deadlocked, 2-2, on marijuana issues.

Four of the 10 candidates — including incumbents Bill Molinari and Vivian Romero, who voted against legalization — say they’re opposed to allowing any marijuana businesses in Montebello.

Four, including Councilman Art Barajas who voted in favor, say the city needs the revenue.

And two, challengers Delia Lopez and Salvador Melendez, said they’re open to legalization but are OK with putting it to a vote of the people.

“It’s a very important election,” said Maribel Briseno, who’s trying to put on a future ballot an initiative to reverse the two votes made earlier this year. “It will be the will of the residents. It should be up to the people.”

However, Councilman Jack Hadjinian, who joined Barajas in supporting legalization and who is not up for re-election this year, said he believes the issue is overblown.

“Some candidates are making it an important issue, but … nobody is running on the issue besides those who are looking for an issue thinking they will discredit” Barajas.

Even among supporters of marijuana, there are differences.

City Treasurer Ashod Mooradian said he’s heard residents’ complaints about legalization and wants to slowly implement the ordinances.

“I want to do it on a pilot program and see if the (concerns) pan out,” Mooradian said. “I want to only deal with one or two operators. I’d advocate patience on the issue.”

Challenger David Torres believes the city has the tools to regulate cannabis-related businesses.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Mike Sprague on Whittier Daily News

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Published: October 08, 2018

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