California rolling forward with pot delivery regulations

LOS ANGELES — California moved a step closer Friday to allowing marijuana deliveries in communities that have banned retail sales of the drug as regulators rebuffed cities and police chiefs who are opposed to the rule.

The proposal is a major issue that could ultimately end up in court as the state continues to set myriad rules for how pot is grown, tested, packaged and delivered since recreational sales became legal Jan. 1.

Cities have been able to ban retail sales, but state law says local governments cannot prevent cannabis deliveries on public roads so the state — at this point — rejected the plea from opponents who said it would jeopardize public safety and cause other problems.

California police chiefs, the League of Cities and other groups launched an online petition this summer opposed to the proposal that showed wide-eyed children gesturing toward a pot delivery van outside a school.

Morgan Hill Police Chief David Swing, who is president of the California Police Chiefs Association, said they remain opposed to deliveries and think that the local governments who don't allow retail sales should also be able to say no to weed on wheels.

"We believe an increase in deliveries will have a corresponding increase in different types of crime, such as robberies and impaired driving," Swing said.

Regulators received 6,000 comments about a raft of proposed regulations and half of those were aimed at the delivery issue, said Alex Traverso, spokesman for the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

"There was a lot on both sides of the dial, but the determination was to leave statewide delivery as it was," he said.

The League of California Cities released a statement saying it would continue to fight what it called a "one size fits all" type of cannabis regulation.

The proposed delivery rule and changes in other draft regulations now face a 15-day public comment period. The rules are expected to be finalized in December.

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