The Angels Camp City Council banned all commercial marijuana activities outside of deliveries Monday, during a raucous and rowdy hearing at the Bret Harte High School theater.
Marijuana deliveries from licensed dispensaries outside the county will be allowed under special conditions, said city attorney Derek Cole shortly after the hearing. Transactions have to be cashless, drivers must be over 21 years old, they would have to notify the Angels Camp Police Department and undergo background checks.
The decision, an unanimous ruling, came after two failed attempts to establish an urgency ordinance, which requires 4/5ths vote, regarding cannabis in Angels Camp.
An initial proposal to ban everything in the city was shot down when Vice Mayor Amanda Folendorf and Councilwoman Veronica Metildi opposed. A second attempt, which would have banned everything but testing facilities, failed after council members Linda Hermann and Joseph Oliveira vetoed.
The council compromised in the approved ordinance, allowing deliveries.
Originally, the council was slated to determine the fate of a law that would have banned outdoor cultivation, but set up requirements for testing labs, manufacturing facilities and marijuana deliveries.
The scope broadened Friday, Nov. 10 when Hermann and Oliveira requested discussions to include a comprehensive ban, Cole said.
The tone of the topic changed further amidst concerns regarding the will of those in attendance, which supported a cannabis ban overwhelmingly Monday, and the conflict a federally illegal substance could impose, if regulated locally, on those that took an oath. Both topics were discussed by either Hermann or Oliveira during deliberations.
The ordinance will remain in effect for 45 days before the council has to determine whether to extend the policy, or let it sunset.
Discussions spiraled out of control midway through deliberations via random outbursts that caused one man to be escorted out by Angels Camp Police Chief Todd Fordahl and another get shut down by Cole after he was interrupted by someone who kept screaming “point of order” from the crowd.
At one point, any comment that supported a regulatory action was met with audible groans and dissent. Mayor Scott Behiel hammered his gavel at least three times, trying to settle the crowd that filled the theater halfway Monday.
Folendorf received the brunt of criticism. Her comments favoring a regulatory system were met with verbal shamings and demands for her to be recalled.
She is one of only two elected members currently on the council. The three others were either appointed following public interview or were given the position after too few people applied to fill the vacancy at the end of the term.
Among those who spoke in favor of a cannabis ban Monday evening during public comment was Jack Lynch, former mayor, Bert Sobon, former councilman, and Lorrie White, who interviewed for the city council position against Metildi last year.
Following a question that later turned into a confrontation, Lynch vocalized his displeasure when informed why the proposed regulatory document would be exempt from environmental review.
"It is an unacceptable ruling," Lynch said.
Cole said the proposed ordinance was exempt of environmental review because it was setting up an apparatus. It would be at the project level where some type of study would be necessary, Cole said.
Prior to public comments, Fordahl spoke against cannabis regulations. He introduced the conflict regarding marijuana, illegal federally, in California, where it was legalized recreationally via Proposition 64 last year.
Fordahl said he was worried that the state was unprepared, legalizing the product before they had a means to test levels of impairment while driving. He was also concerned about children being exposed to the cannabis lifestyle.
Angels Camp Fire Chief John Rohrabaugh did not take a stand. He said he was concerned about indoor growing and the risk for fire due to shoddy electrical work. He stated he preferred outdoor marijuana farming, but knew everyone would not like the smell.
“I have never seen a house burn down from an outside grow before,” Rohrabaugh said. “I have seen 10 burn down from an grow indoor.”