Weed killer: Reluctant cities won't be forced to open thousands of pot shops

illustration of marijuana leaf

A bid to open as many as 4,000 new marijuana dispensaries in California was shelved amid opposition from cities arguing it would override local control.

AB 1356 would have required local governments to approve permits for cannabis dispensaries if a majority of voters in their area in 2016 supported Proposition 64, the initiative that legalized marijuana for adults in California. The exact number of cannabis permits required would have been based on the number of liquor licenses in each city.

Assemblyman Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat, said he hoped the proposal would lead to an additional 3,500 to 4,000 dispensaries opening up in the state—a massive increase from the 620 legal pot shops now operating. Cannabis businesses that support the bill argued that the legal marijuana marketplace created by Prop. 64 is suffering because too many cities have banned dispensaries—leading consumers to buy on the black market.

The bill faced a steep hurdle to pass, requiring support from two-thirds of the Assembly, and Ting opted not to try a floor vote.

–Laurel Rosenhall