Los Angeles Business Journal

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Lynwood Becomes First Local City to Allow Commercial Marijuana Cultivation and Manufacturing, By Henry Meier

The Lynwood City Council approved an ordinance on Tuesday evening that allows commercial marijuana cultivation and manufacturing in the city.

After more than an hour of public comment in front of a packed auditorium, the council voted 3-1 in favor of the ordinance. The vote made Lynwood the first city in Los Angeles to permit cannabis cultivation and manufacturing operations.

The ordinance was spearheaded by Councilwoman Aide Castro, who framed the new regulations as an opportunity for economic development. She said allowing marijuana cultivators and manufacturers into the city would create well-paying jobs and bring in revenue from development fees.

“We’re trying to implement this in a way that is really beneficial to the economic development of the city,” Castro said in an interview.

Councilman Salvador Alatorre, the lone dissenting voice among the elected representatives, said the new regulations were “poorly written” and would be a disaster for the community. He, like many detractors on hand to make public comments, wondered why Lynwood should have to legalize commercial marijuana businesses before more affluent areas such as Beverly Hills.

An earlier vote on the ordinance was pushed back until after the Nov. 8 election at the request of two council members who wanted to let the voters’ response to Proposition 64, the recreational cannabis referendum, serve as a guide. Vice Mayor Jose Luis Solache and Mayor Maria Santillan-Beas both said they were not big proponents of the ordinance, but after seeing Prop. 64 receive a majority of votes, both in California and among Lynwood residents, they felt obligated to respect the voters’ will.

The pro-ordinance faction was also well-represented among public speakers present at the meeting. Yami Bolanos, who founded one of the region’s oldest medical marijuana advocacy groups the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance, commended the council for addressing the issue head on.

While the vote is an important step for marijuana businesses who want to bring commercial operations to Lynwood, the city council still must iron out some details of the ordinance. A second reading is scheduled for Dec. 20 and additional wrinkles of the application and fee process still have to be finalized. While no specific fee numbers have been decided, Santillan-Beas said the council was considering rates of $10 to $20 per square foot of cultivation space.