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Long Beach’s City Council continues to take on tough issues one after another, returning to the issue of medical marijuana at its meeting next Tuesday, Feb 2.

That’s when an ordinance returns to repeal the city’s ban on medicinal marijuana dispensaries and instead allow up to four delivery-only operations to locate here. A divided council voted Dec. 8 for that alternative instead of a draft ordinance that would have allowed up to nine storefront dispensaries — one in each district — with a number of conditions.

That vote was 5-4. The council will vote Tuesday on the actual ordinance for the first time, and marijuana advocates are expected to attempt to change the council’s mind.

The most recent proposal, put forward by Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price, would allow up to four delivery-only dispensaries, with no on-site sales. It includes buffers separating the business from schools, parks, libraries and “human trafficking corridors” as identified by the Long Beach Police Department, but allows them in all land use zones except residential.

After a delivery business has been open for six months under the proposed ordinance, city staff would report about impacts. The council could then allow that business to convert to a storefront dispensary or cultivation facility. Six months after that happens, another report would be due, and the council could then consider adding three more dispensaries for a total of seven in the city.

Late last year, the state legislature passed specific regulations governing distribution of medical marijuana. Assistant City Attorney Michael Mais said that the proposed ordinance complies with those regulations, although they likely will not be in place for another year.

A city ordinance requires approval on two readings before becoming law.

In other action next week, the council is scheduled to:

• Approve an Early Works Agreement between the city, the Port of Long Beach and Plenary Edgemoor Civic Partners, LLC, to allow design work on the new Civic Center to continue while meet and confer talks continue with the union representing city employees regarding contracting out custodial and maintenance services.

• Approve an updated Emergency Operations plan for the city.

• Amend the ordinance relating to canvas of election returns and deadlines for candidate statement on a one-time basis to allow consolidation of the municipal election with the county and state primary on June 7.

This Week

Fourth District Councilman Daryl Supernaw got a reprieve from fundraising and campaigning Tuesday night, getting appointed to another four years as the Fourth District representative.

No one filed with the city clerk to challenge Supernaw in the April 12 municipal election, so the City Council cancelled the election in that district and gave Supernaw a full term beginning on the third Tuesday of July. He won the seat last year in a special election after former Councilman Patrick O’Donnell resigned to take office as a state Assemblyman.

Harry Saltzgaver can be reached at hsalt@gazettes.com.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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