Cathedral City pot ordinance will likely go to voters

Cat City Pot

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - Cathedral City is the latest valley city to follow the lead of Palm Springs. The city council is looking at allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

The Desert Hot Springs city council is unanimously behind a similar idea and hopes to explore the idea as well. One major incentive is the estimated $450,000 Palm Springs expects to bring in off the voter-approved 10% tax on its three legal collectives.  

"It's time that we get our own heads out of the sand, knowing what Palm Springs is doing, knowing what Palm Springs is bringing in," said city council member Greg Pettis.

The council discussed the issue during a study session which drew interest from business owners like Mike Vwaneh. He hopes to open a dispensary if the city passes an ordinance.  

"To be a legal and safe place for people to come and purchase their medicine," said Vwaneh.  

Not all of the response was positive. One resident feels the council's making a brash decision to lift the ban on pot shops from 2009.  

"I think you're trying to rush this, I agree it should go to the voters, but I also think you need to be cautious." 

Mayor Pro Tem Chuck Vasquez agreed in part. He says he's personally against marijuana, but believes it's important to put in place restrictions now, before the state or federal government steps in.  

"Try to implement something that is the most restrictive, the most concise ordinance we can come up with," said Vasquez. 

The council asked staff to draft an ordinance and present it at a council meeting in July.  If it receives council approval, voters would make the final decision in the November election, something supporters are counting on.  

"I'm confident that the voters will pass an ordinance that's logical," said councilman Sam Toles. 

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