Petition to legalize cannabis sales started

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As the legality of recreational marijuana in California approaches, Riverside County is reviewing its current ordinances. Currently, except in certain Riverside County cities, cannabis is illegal throughout Riverside County.

However, county staff is reviewing the current ordinances and sometime this spring, the board of supervisors is expected to reconsider the current prohibitions against growing, distributing and marketing cannabis.

If the board’s position changes, the possibility of increased tax revenue will play a role.

While the supervisors have not explicitly indicated their leaning, Stuart and Alicia Eberhardt, now of Idyllwild, want to let the board know that residents in Idyllwild and Pine Cove would be willing to accept the new cannabis-related businesses.

They are collecting signatures on a petition urging the board to repeal the county ordinances, which prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries and cannabis cultivation. They have nearly 100 signatures already and plan to get 500 before sharing the petition with 3rd District Supervisor Chuck Washington and his colleagues.

Seeking support for approval of medical-cannabis businesses, the petition document has arguments for improved tax revenue and the statewide approval of the major marijuana propositions and laws, such as the Adult Use of Marijuana proposition approved with 57 percent support a year ago and the subsequent legislation in June.

The document presents five arguments in support of legalizing cannabis, including “… a relatively low potential for abuse” and its use as a medical treatment has been accepted.

In addition, the Eberhardts argue that there are health and security benefits from the legal marketing of cannabis.

“… the provision of clean and secure facilities from which to purchase medical marijuana has traditionally lowered local drug-related crime rates, not increased them.

“I feel strongly that this is right. This is the business we’re in,” said Stuart. “It’s hard for hilltop residents to get to Palm Desert or Perris where it is legal. We have many older residents who need this advantage.”

The Everhardts are local residents. They moved here more than a year ago and their son attends Idyllwild School. Since arriving, they have participated in several local events to gain a foothold in the community, including a Thanksgiving Day dinner at their business, the former Arriba’s Restaurant.

“We’ve done the market research. We want to help and can offer good product,” Alicia added. “People have told us they need it. And they are asking to be taxed for it.”

While this would be their first store, they have been growers in other areas. Consequently, they feel confident of their knowledge of the product and its medicinal value.

“It’s been one year now, amazing,” Stuart said. “It’s been quire a journey. We’re doing the best to do the right thing to help people in the community.”

Individuals interested in signing the petition may come to 25980 Highway 243, otherwise known as the former Arriba’s. They primarily want registered voters, but have registration forms available for individuals who are not registered.

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