SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - The San Bernardino City Council voted to extend a moratorium on new permits for commercial marijuana sales until at least December. The vote was unanimous.
Nearly a dozen people spoke at the city council meeting not far from city hall. The majority of people were in favor of regulating marijuana sales throughout the city.
"You have empty places everywhere, an empty mall," said resident Kim Smith. "Let's get things turned around and bring business in here. Yes, it's marijuana, but let's use it for something good."
California voters approved Proposition 64 in November of 2016. It allows for the production and sale of marijuana throughout the state, but it also allows counties and cities to regulate its use, or ban it entirely.
San Bernardino is one of many cities struggling with how to move forward.
"I think your opposition to cannabis puts you on the wrong side of history," said resident Roy Murray, who is in favor of regulating marijuana dispensaries.
But not everyone is in favor of commercial marijuana sales and production in the city.
"I would personally not want any marijuana facilities in my city," said resident James Penman, who is also the former city attorney. But he acknowledges that taxes on marijuana sales could garner the city between $1 and 2 million, and he doesn't want to see the state regulate marijuana sales when it can be done at the local level.
"I don't want the state of California to decide where these (dispensaries) go," said Penman. "I want the city council to decide where these go."
Most seemed to accept the likelihood of marijuana regulation coming soon to the city of San Bernardino.
"We're not here to make a decision pro or con. It's here to stay," said City Councilman Fred Shorett. "We just want to make sure it's done in an effective and productive way for our community and our residents."
Although the city council now has until Dec. 18 to approve a comprehensive ordinance dealing with the regulation of marijuana within city limits, City Manager Andrea Miller said that she expects the city council will be able to vote on the issue by mid-March.