Cannabis will loom large in both Redding and Chico this evening, where among other issues, councils are considering post-decriminalization regulation.
In Chico, officials are again expected to take another small step toward allowing marijuana sales. The council will consider the size and makeup of a committee tasked with refining a possible cannabis ordinance.
The issue has proved sensitive. Opponents are aghast at legalization — seeing it as official endorsement of a substance government tried stamping out for a century. Proponents claim concerns about cannabis are overblown and that its use is widespread. They argue that precious tax revenue goes uncollected because there is no place in Chico to buy it legally. A report prepared by Vice Major Alex Brown found that there have been no applications for a cannabis permit under the city’s current system in at least five years.
If approved, the committee would be tasked with helping develop a fleshed out proposal including regulations on the location and number of retail shops plus growing methods and the location of manufacturing businesses. Many other issues are already regulated under the voter approved state law.
Access to the more rugged upper portion of Bidwell Park is likewise up for debate. Officials will consider repairs to part of the unpaved park road that been closed for seven years. The council will weigh opening it only to emergency vehicles or to everyone. Supporters say an open road would make quiet and remote areas of the park more reachable, especially to the elderly and disabled while opponents maintain vehicle access disturbs tranquility and results in trash marring secluded spots.
In Redding, public hearings on three issues of significance are expected. Officials are being asked to amend Redding’s cannabis ordinance by changing the types of permits needed, eliminating background checks, and revoking permits issued to applicants whose projects have stalled. The city will also consider new regulations on short term rentals and possibly increasing the amount of money available to parks by raising development fees on new construction.