Tulare becomes fourth city in county to approve recreational pot

The Tulare City Council passed Ordinance 19-12 allowing for the permitting of up to three recreational cannabis dispensaries at its December 3 meeting. Two medical marijuana dispensaries already exist in the city.

With Councilmember Greg Nunley absent, the council voted 3-1 to adopt the ordinance. Councilmember Dennis Mederos cast the dissenting vote. Councilmembers Carlton Jones and Terry Sayre voted in favor, as did Mayor Jose Sigala.

The ordinance states, “Retail sales shall only be allowed in a storefront, in an area zoned C-4 or C-3, but at least 1,000 feet away from each other, at least 600 feet away from any school, and in compliance with all other State and local laws. (See Chapter 10 for zoning designations.) No distinction shall be made between medicinal and recreational sales.”

Mederos said he preferred that the matter “go to the ballot.” City staff, however, pointed out the cost of such an undertaking, estimated to be between $25,000 and $130,000.

Sayre was concerned by the number of dispensaries, and wanted to make sure that no more than three were to be allowed. It was at this moment that Sigala pointed out that two medical marijuana dispensaries were already in the town, and that Ordinance 19-12 referred specifically to the permitting of three new, recreational cannabis dispensaries.

The two medical marijuana dispensaries would be able to apply for permits to sell recreational cannabis as well. but only a total or three recreational pot dispensaries will be allowed in Tulare.

Jones, speaking primarily as a first-responder, began by mentioning that he’d never taken a drink of alcohol in his life. Or done drugs, he added, pointedly. “I wouldn’t encourage anyone,” he said. But, he said, as a fireman who has inhaled some “crazy stuff” and has known sick co-workers–he mentioned cancer specifically–Jones seemed to recognize the potential palliative effects of cannabis.

“I’ve seen the benefits,” he said.

The vote came nearly two hours into the meeting, with Jones assuming his seat on the dais just prior to the discussion and ensuing vote. Earlier in the meeting, Sigala noted that Jones “was on his way,” and bumped the discussion and vote regarding recreational cannabis dispensaries down the agenda to one of the last items.

Before Ordinance 19-12 was voted on by the council, the public was given its chance to opine. Six spoke before the council–three in favor, two against and another, apparently, neutral.

Most impassioned was Laura Fonseca, Board President of the Tulare Joint Union High School District. Citing an ever-increasing marijuana and vaping use among teens, Fonseca said in the 2016-17 school year there were 146 drug-related suspensions. That number, she said, grew to 293 during the 2018-19 year.

The figure represents an increase in suspensions of more than 100% from the previous year.

Furthermore, Fonseca said, the costs associated with drug prevention and intervention are always on the rise. These amounted to $159,850 during the 2015-16 school year. During the 2018-19 year, that of the doubled suspensions, drug prevention and interventions costs tallied $274, 118.

The vote was called individually by the City Clerk, as opposed to being called collectively by Mayor Sigala.

“So that passes 3-1,” Sigala said after the vote was tallied.

The ordinance will be on the city council December 17 meeting to hammer out details or clarifications.

7 thoughts on “Tulare becomes fourth city in county to approve recreational pot

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  1. Tulare has become so pathetic. This is a sad day for City of Tulare. I thought we were better than this. Thank you Dennis for having some common sense.

    • I’m not a big “pot head” or anything like that. I’ve smoked weed, and do so from time to time. It doesn’t make me any different than all my friends and family members.

      I think sometimes it can be tough to accept change, and with that things that were once illegal are deemed bad when becoming legalized.

      What ever happened with all the prohibitions that happened in the US? Guess what, those banned things were legalized and no one is complaining.

      There’s things out there that are deadly and addictive, and marijuana isn’t one.

      It’ll also help aid for schools, hospital and roads. Putting those tax dollars to work. Don’t you want to help out?

      How many people get into acts of violence from alcohol? How many die from alcohol poisoning? How impaired does one become and is subject to doing dangerous things when under the use?

      Tobacco, at least from my understanding in Cigarette form is also dangerous. Not so much in the physical sense of doing harm to others but to doing harm to one self. A single cig can have over 200 chemicals and cause some severe damage. Daily smokers can go through a pack a day and don’t often think about who’s around them when they’re smoking and could care less for their health even tho many others worry for them.

      Weed. Yeah it might make you act silly. But it doesn’t cause people to fight. It doesn’t disorient you like alcohol does. And sure, it can have negative properties from inhaling all the carcinogens such as cigs. But it is mandated that you can’t be smoking in public, gotta be at home or in private doing your thing. Unlike all the cigarette smokers out there smoking outside of business establishments and in the public of young ones.

      Anyhow, I have more to say but that’s enough for now. I’m a bit more logical in my sense on speaking, I put my emotions aside and see the perspective of all. Not just a select few. Thank you.

      • Thank you Eduardo. You probably won’t change the mindsets of some but you stated your opinion quite well and articulately and stated “some good food for thought”. 🙂

  2. Just remember that these are the same people who want Trump impeached. America in general and Ca in particular just get more stupid every day. Eduardo typifies the sheer stupidity that is so common in this county. Democrats love stupidity.

    • Damn it, Dave–Can’t you tone it down and just get your point, on its merits, across? You don’t need to stress that Eduardo typifies anything, or the glassy lunacy that Democrats love stupidity. You’re making yourself ridiculous, and that’s not generally helpful in any conversation we’re all trying to have. As Americans we tend by default to value your viewpoint, as we do anyone’s who cares to weigh in. Why not contribute for a change, instead of going over onto attack?

      • Amen to what you posted Mr. Oldenbourg but in all candor, Dave M does only what he knows how to do…….throwing stones with the intent of inflicting acrimony and pain because sadly this is what he seems to thrive on. To those who believe in either the power of prayer or the power of positive thinking, all should send them his way to help ease his affliction.

    • Dave if we’re just going to resort to stereotypes and name calling don’t mad when someone calls you something you don’t like. You seem to be a Trump supporter so calling you a inbreed cousin loving hillbilly nazi would be the equivalent of how you responded to Eduardo. But since I don’t partake in party politics I won’t stoop to your level.

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