At the start of the year, Huntington Park decided to create legislation that would weed out all cannabis collectives due to an increasing number of unlicensed shops operation despite the city’s 2011 ban on such establishments. These restrictions would have fined collective owners and landlords thousands of dollars, making it easier for local officials to shut them down. However, on February 19, the City Council had another meeting on the matter, revisiting the issue of access for patients, and the council is now considering allowing up to three collectives in industrial areas, according to Wave Newspapers. The council meeting went until midnight and the motion to allow three collectives was approved in a 4-1 vote.
Although some residents and city officials in Huntington Park believe that collectives are a public danger due to their susceptibility to robberies and other suspected fowl play, the three approved collectives are expected to bring in $750,000 in fees for the city, annually. City Manager Edgar Cisneros plans to use 15 percent of proceeds on programs for senior citizens and youth, while another 15 percent will go towards decreasing the city’s water rates. Another upside is that the collectives will give patients convenient access to much needed cannabis medicine.
Like other California cities, Huntington Parks’ regulations on the approved medical cannabis collectives will be strict. According to Wave Newspapers, collectives are to be in “locations away from homes, schools, churches and parks; 24-hour security with armed guards on site, camera surveillance and a professionally monitored alarm system; and prohibition of on-site monetary purchases, thus no money would be available to steal.” They will also be required to have a restricted number of operation hours, conduct background checks on all employees and owners and ensure that cannabis is only distributed to qualifying patients.
While Valentin Amezquitam, the only council member to dissent the movement, believes that collectives are unnecessary as patients can go to Los Angeles for medical cannabis. Cisneros knows that this movement will save the city millions of dollars in legal costs. Police Chief Cosme agrees with Cisneros stating that it will be easier to monitor the three permitted shops and the City Council is expected to give this movement final approval by March 15.
Hopefully, the approved collectives can show the benefits of having legally regulated collectives within a city and inspire officials to allow more to operate in Huntington Park.