Group hopes to legalize marijuana sales in Carlsbad

CARLSBAD, Calif. — A signature-gathering campaign to change Carlsbad’s marijuana laws could soon be underway after a group aiming to make commercial marijuana sales legal received the necessary approval it needed from the city to begin its campaign.

Carlsbad City Attorney Celia Brewer had until Friday to provide a ballot title and measure summary to the Association of Cannabis Professionals after that group submitted its notice of intent to seek a change to the laws last week. Brewer and City Clerk Barbara Engleson signed the ballot title and summary Thursday.

The Association of Cannabis Professionals must now publish a notice of intent in the newspaper before they can begin gathering signatures. The initiative will seek to legalize commercial cannabis activities with a conditional-use permit and subject to certain regulations.

The initiative would legalize marijuana sales as long the business was 1,000 or more feet from schools, daycare centers and playgrounds; permit indoor cultivation of marijuana; legalize the manufacture of cannabis products; and legalize the delivery of marijuana products by dispensary employees to customers.

Under the proposed changes, marijuana retailers would be limited to operating between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Those same hours would dictate when delivery drivers could operate. The initiative would also allow primary caregivers and qualified patients to cultivate marijuana for medical use.

The initiative would help strengthen the statewide proposition passed by voters last year legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and older. That law allows counties and municipalities to restrict where marijuana businesses can be located and even gave local governments power to completely ban the sale of marijuana in their jurisdiction.

This initiative, if passed, would set the guidelines for sales in Carlsbad.

To qualify the initiative for a special election, proponents must submit valid signatures for 15 percent of registered voters in the city. To get the initiative on next year’s general election ballot, they must gather valid signatures from 10 percent of registered voters. The City Council also has the option to adopt the initiative without any changes.

According to Carlsbad city officials, the same initiative was sent last week to several other cities across San Diego County.