For several years, cannabis businesses of any kind were banned in the City of San Bernardino. In November 2016, the citizens of San Bernardino had three choices regarding the future of cannabis in their town. Two of the choices were the result of the initiative process which requires the proponents to collect sufficient signatures from registered voters in the City before they could be placed on the ballot. The third choice was a City-sponsored ballot measure. With three options on the ballot, San Bernardino voters were faced with a difficult choice.
Measure “O” established a regulatory process for all cannabis businesses (medical and adult-use), including zoning restrictions related to specific parcel numbers, distance from residential zones, and taxation. Measure “N” also established a regulatory process for medical cannabis businesses only, including zoning restrictions to permit businesses in commercial zones, established distance requirements, imposed a 5% taxation on all gross receipts, and mandated a minimum of twenty medical cannabis business licenses in the City. Measure “P”, placed on the ballot by the City Council, established a regulatory process for all cannabis businesses, including zoning restrictions, but no taxation.
The City-wide ballot measures were on the same ballot as Proposition 64 (Adult Use of Marijuana Act – AUMA) , the State-wide legalization of Adult Use of Cannabis. Nearly 53% of the citizens of the County of San Bernardino voted for the legalization of the Adult Use of Cannabis.
Measure “O” was the successful measure with 54% of the votes cast (Measure “N” received 51.10%, and Measure “P” 48.45%).
The City was simultaneously sued to mandate the immediate implementation of Measure “O” and, alternatively, a challenge to the validity of Measure “O”. The Court issued its Final Statement of Decision invalidating Measure “O” on February 9, 2018. Read the Court Decision on San Bernardino Measure O.
It is anticipated that the proponents of Measure “O” will appeal the trial court decision and request a stay of the trial court decision. It is further anticipated that the proponents of Measure “N” will file a lawsuit demanding that Measure “N” is immediately operative. For more info, see this article from the San Bernardino Sun.
Meanwhile, on February 1, 2018, the City of San Bernardino extended a moratorium for ten months and fifteen days reinstating the previous ban of all cannabis businesses. City staff presented proposed new regulations to the City Council on February 7, 2018. The proposed new regulations will be forwarded to the Planning Commission for consideration. Read more about Measure “O” and San Bernardino City Marijuana Regulations at the City website.
Between lawsuits and City Council consideration of new regulations, it is unclear what the future of cannabis will be in the City of San Bernardino.