Framework approved for San Jacinto cannabis oversight committee

Photo by Kyle Selby/The Valley Chronicle
Mayor Pro Tem Alonso Ledezma (left) and Councilwoman Crystal Ruiz (right) have taken the responsibility of overseeing the Cannabis Policy Oversight Team.

■ By Kyle Selby / Reporter

San Jacinto Mayor Scott Miller has been begging for the implementation of a committee to oversee the city’s newly developing cannabis industry since May. On Tuesday, Aug. 1, he and the rest of the City Council were introduced to and approved a framework that would lay the groundwork for the city’s very first cannabis oversight committee.
Creation of San Jacinto’s Cannabis Policy Oversight Team (CPOT) is gradually becoming more and more of a reality.
As described in the outline, CPOT will provide recommendations that inform future cannabis policy decisions at the state and local level, assist the city in more effectively responding to neighborhood concerns, address emerging issues in the industry, and ensure that regulations are adaptive and accurately reflect the changing cannabis landscape.
“The whole idea here is to have representation from [Council] sitting down with some of our legal business owners, and going over things we haven’t thought about yet, as we go down this road,” said Miller. “I think this committee is going to evolve.”
CPOT’s main priority will be to reduce the illegal cannabis market within the city and actively work toward the development of youth prevention strategies, review impacts of legalization and regulation on the San Jacinto Community, prevent unintended consequences for the business community, regulate higher and lower property values, organize potential cannabis events or festivals, regulate the social consumption of cannabis, maintain homeless and vagrancy issues pertaining to cannabis, and oversee chronic municipal code violation issues.
CPOT will meet monthly within the first 12 months of cannabis development in San Jacinto and thereafter as needed to carry out the stated objectives. In July, City Manager Rob Johnson said the team will be comprised of 14 to 15 people, and will require at least eight attendees to reach a quorum.
Tuesday revealed that the team will be comprised of 16 members: Mayor Pro Tem Alonso Ledezma, Councilwoman Crystal Ruiz, City Manager Johnson, two currently licensed marijuana cultivation permit holders, one representative of the San Jacinto Police Department, and a 10-member citizen advisory committee consisting of five members from the San Jacinto business community and five San Jacinto residents who are not currently a member of a San Jacinto city commission/committee.
Ledezma and Ruiz will review applications for the Citizen Advisory Committee, and return to Council with decisions and recommendations for the best interest of the City. The application process has not yet been defined. Ruiz would like to see CPOT lead the community’s perspective of the cannabis industry in a positive light by potentially getting the school district and community recreational departments involved.
“It would be great to see some of the positives to come out of what the [cannabis industry] is doing,” said Ruiz. “We’re going to get enough negative feedback at these meetings. My guess is they will be pretty harsh.”
Details about undetermined application processes, anticipated costs connected to a specific meeting facility, and other recommendations will be brought back to Council at a later date.

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