Garden Grove’s Pot Ban Gets Worse, But There’s Still Hope

As we approach the California’s much-anticipated March 1st cannabis deadline—which requires cities to instate regulations that specifically prohibit marijuana cultivation, distribution and/or delivery if they want to have control over it—OC cities have been scrambling to establish ruthless anti-marijuana laws. This last week, Garden Grove saw the onset of a major pot-related regulation that’s likely to further restrict patient access to medicinal kush, as the Voice of OC reported yesterday. 

On Tuesday, Garden Grove city officials announced a ban on the cultivation and delivery of pot, which threatens to put the C3 Patients Association, a non-profit company founded by onetime Weekly coverboy Steele Smith that produces Idrasil—the cannabis tablet that requires a prescription and can only be received via mail—out of business, despite the fact it operates solely through the U.S. Postal Service and receives no foot traffic.  

Yet confusingly, after confirming the new ordinance, council members made it known that the expansion of the ban was just a “temporary maneuver to maintain local control,” and the city would “reconsider whether to have a ban at all in the near future,” according to the Voice of OC. In other words, Garden Grove City Council members are now saying they’ll reassess the 2008 ordinance that shut down all dispensaries in the area.

But don’t hold your breath—revoking the ban isn’t certain. Concerns regarding public nuisance, like the pungent smell of marijuana around dispensaries, is a major area of apprehension Councilmen Phat Bui and Steve Jones made clear at the meeting.

Mayor Bao Nguyen, who’s said to be in favor of overturning the city’s 2008 ban on dispensaries as long as they’re operated under strict regulations, however, has asked city staff to start studying the process of what a regulatory scheme would look like if it were implemented. He’s also asked for his staff to come up with a timeline for placing an item on the 2016 ballot. Although both requests seem promising, Garden Grove and legal marijuana tend to blend like oil and water— they just never work.

As a city once thought of as the kush capital of Orange County, Garden Grove has experienced quite the roller coaster ride in terms of the legality of medical marijuana. (Remember in 2013 when the reinstated—and regulated— dispensaries were forced to shut down again, otherwise they’d be fined?) On a broader scale, if you’ve been around over the last six years, you’re probably aware of Orange County’s tumultuous relationship with pot. Stay tuned: the second reading of the new ordinance on cultivation on Jan. 26th is sure to be an interesting day for Garden Grove and its relationship with medicinal marijuana. 

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