A hydroponics supplier to the cannabis industry that Banning Mayor Pro tem Don Peterson’s security firm serves, initially encountered a situation when it came to disposing of marijuana waste.
The lower quality parts of marijuana plants, collected and disposed of in plastic bags, were being taken to a facility and accumulated around its trash area, which attracted homeless individuals to come and open the bags to raid their contents, and “smoke themselves into oblivion,” Peterson said during an April 10 cannabis workshop conducted at City Hall.
“The property manager’s arriving and he’s finding the homeless passed out and sleeping in the Dumptster area” after moving the Dumpster’s from their enclosure area and setting up camp in the cleared spot.
In the last couple of weeks, his officers had arrested eight individuals for illegal dumping at the location in El Monte.
“It’s posed a huge, huge problem for property owners leasing to these cultivators and the hydroponics and suppliers” of the industry — a dilemma that was not clearly outlined in a presentation to the city council by Community Service Director Patty Nevins and Maricela Marroquin, an attorney with Los Angeles-based Richards, Watson & Gershon law firm.
Marroquin explained that the state has guidelines that require businesses dealing with cannabis to outline how they will dispose of their waste.
It would require secure space to be included in any cultivation center that pops up in Banning.
The majority of Banning opposed the 2016 California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, which only 44 percent of the city’s residents voting for Proposition 64.
When Banning eventually passes its ordinance outlining its policy on cannabis, it will strictly reflect indoor commercial cultivation only — not distribution, testing, or the possibility of hosting dispensaries.
Three industrial zones south of railroad tracks would be designated for businesses catering to marijuana cultivation.
Banning is considering allowing buildings to designate up to 22,000 square-feet of canopy space for the cultivation of cannabis, regardless of the size or growth stage of the plants.
The 22,000 square feet would not be counted against for other building space, such as office space, or areas for packaging equipment.
Banning will have to determine how many cultivation centers it will allow.
The city will also have to figure out whether they will be issued via a lottery system or through other means.
Security will be a concern, since it is a cash-heavy industry that cannot deposit funds into any federally insured facility.
While the city will accept permit fees from the cannabis industry, it needs to be cautious as to not appear to be laundering money from the industry.
It was pointed out that the state is currently collecting fees from the industry.
Cultivation taxes are being considered at $9.25 per ounce for cannabis flowers and $2.75 per ounce for cannabis leaves.
Among factors the city will consider: cultivation facilities will not be open to the general public; their plants cannot be visible from outside the buildings; ventilation must prevent odors from being detected outside buildings; and insurance and indemnification requirements must be reviewed.
A draft ordinance is expected to be brought to the council for consideration in May, with a final passage anticipated in July.
Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at email@example.com .