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Napa Finally Ready to Let Weed Join the Party

Council members are ready to turn medical-only marijuana to recreational use.

This story originally appeared on Leafreport

In the heart of California’s wine country, the city of Napa is preparing to add another major piece to its offering of legal indulgences.

Councilmembers may approve adult-use cannabis by the end of the year if the final draft of an ordinance moves through local committees as planned. The law would open the door for retail sales of cannabis products for adults aged 21 and over, in line with the state’s policy that permits the sale and possession of one ounce of cannabis flower or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.

“We’re getting close,” said Napa councilwoman Beth Painter, a proponent of retail cannabis. “This is definitely the closest we’ve been.”

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Turning the page

Napa’s current medical-only ordinance requires that customers have a physician-approved medical use card to shop at one of the city’s 24 licensed dispensaries. But the five-member Napa City Council on Tuesday will discuss the draft update to the adult-use ordinance.

According to the Napa Valley Register, the city’s planning commission would need to approve the draft first. Then it would go to the Napa City Council at a later date. If the city legalizes adult-use, current medical dispensaries will need to apply for a separate license before they can start selling the plant recreationally.

This isn’t the first time Napa has discussed a potential rec ordinance. But if cannabis activists have their way, it will be the last. The city council in February included retail cannabis on a list of six priority objectives for 2021.

Why Napa held back

California voters legalized adult-use in 2016 when 61% of voters in Napa County and 57% overall across the state approved Proposition 64. But the law left final say in the hands of local counties and cities. So far, many have yet to start adult-use sales. Among those that have already instituted rec include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Long Beach and Humboldt County.

Asked how the cannabis industry might affect the city’s reputation for wine, Painter said the plant would only serve to improve Napa’s allure to tourists.

“I think that’d just be adding another feather in our cap,” she said. “I can’t envision a scenario in which one would take away from the other. It’d be just the opposite.”