SAN BERNARDINO — A committee appointed by the City Council will try to do what the City Council couldn’t: Fix a marijuana environment that both advocates of more access and opponents of marijuana say is broken.
The nine-member committee will consist of one member appointed by each council member and two members appointed by Mayor Carey Davis. The names of those appointees, who must be city residents or heads of businesses in the city, should be selected by the next council meeting, Oct. 4, Davis said.
The plan to appoint a committee cleared the City Council on Wednesday on a 6-0 vote, with Councilwoman Virginia Marquez absent.
The committee’s recommendations will be due by mid-December, to allow for any recommended ordinance to be in place by January.
Any recommendations from the committee will have to comply with Proposition 64, which allows marijuana statewide, and Measure O, a law passed by the city’s voters that is undergoing legal challenges now.
Both of those passed in November 2010.
Measure O allows dispensaries in a limited number of locations in the city. The city issued the first permit for one of those locations in in August, the Flesh Showgirls strip club — a permit that’s already being appealed.
Despite the ban on other locations, Weedmaps lists 18 unlicensed dispensaries and another 16 rogue marijuana delivery services in San Bernardino. Other sources provided estimates that are much higher.
“Would we rather have 10 dispensaries, or the 100 that we may have now?” said Councilman John Valdivia, saying that the committee was being formed too late — more than a year after he suggested a committee and a polling study. “It was shot down by the mayor. I see political games.”
Valdivia said Wednesday that he had supported Proposition 64, a position at odds with Davis, who actively campaigned against marijuana legalization. Both have announced that they are running for mayor with the election set for June.
Davis rejected Valdivia’s characterization.
“This is not political cover,” Davis said. “This is recognition that the law has changed a lot, even since the legislative review committee met, and there’s been a lot of learned experiences from other communities that failed to regulate it, and I think we can learn from those mistakes.”
Delivery, cultivation and other issues would be under the committee’s purview.
The council also authorized the hiring of a consultant to aid the committee, who can be paid up to…