But it may permit growth and processing as source of revenue

Marijuana will be legal for recreational use starting in January 2018.

That much we know for sure.

Just what effect that will have is anybody's guess.
Will be it be a boon for local governments up and down the state, creating millions of dollars through sales taxes and fees charged to grow and process the drug? Or, will it be, in the words of Taft City Councilman Josh Bryant -- a gold rush of sorts that spurs people to invest in growing and retail sales, only to see the market fall part?

No one knows.

But local governments are planning for the legalization of marijuana and the City of Taft is fast-tracking it ordinances to regulate the drug in the city.

If it doesn't, marijuana businesses could open in Taft with nothing more than a license of the state's Bureau of Cannabis Control.

That's about the only option the city isn't going to consider.

"If we don't do something, it will be like the 'Wild West' here," said Councilman Orchel Krier.

A public hearing at Tuesday's Taft City Council meeting was followed by discussion with city officials at the Taft Chamber of Commerce's weekly Sit n' Sip.

A public meeting to allow people to voice their opinions will be held on Aug. 8 at 6 p.m. at the West Side Recreation and Park District.

Tuesday night the Council discussed the issue for more than 90 minutes with John Zimmerman, a consultant hired by the city to develop ordinances to regulate marijuana in the city.

As it stands now, the city is looking at licensing growing and processing operations and getting revenue through developer fees.

It could also get extra sales tax revenue from allowing retail sales of marijuana and marijuana products like processed oil and candy made with marijuana.

That is not likely.

City Manager Craig Jones said several draft ordinances will be presented to the council and it will have a choice about allowing retails sales.

But Mayor Dave Noerr said Wednesday he will vote against retail sales.

"I am adamantly opposed to any of that," he said.

He's probably not alone on the council.

"I think the consensus of the council is they don't want marijuana sales," Jones said.

The Council discussed the entire issue at length with Zimmerman, who operated a medical marijuana dispensary in Southern California.

About 20 people were in the audience for the study session, but none spoke during the session.

Only one person, Lodema Hatch, spoke during public comments after the study session and she spoke against allowing marijuana use and the negative effects it has on society.

Zimmerman said that is a "state of euphoria" about the legalization of marijuana use by adults from both people who want to make money growing, processing and selling it, and cash-strapped cities and counties that see a lucrative revenue stream from taxes and fees.

He cautioned that euphoria may not last.

People without proper financing, business plans and knowledge won't last in the business, and cities may not see the big pay day they are hoping for.

Moreover, Proposition 64 allows people to grow up to six plants at a time per parcel, Zimmerman and Chief of Police Ed Whiting said, providing enough marijuana for both personal use and unregulated sales.

The city hired Zimmerman in the spring and has been working on the issue ever since.

Work on ordinances was slowed when legislation passed in conjunction with Prop. 64 forced the city to start work on the wording of ordinances all over again, Jones said.

The city is currently planning to present the first draft ordinances to the Taft Planning Commission for review at its Aug. 16 meeting with final review on September 20.

The draft will then go to the Taft City Council for a first reading on Oct. 17 and a second reading and final vote on November 7, according to a schedule by Director of Planning and Community Development Mark Staples.

If passed at that meeting, an ordinance would go into effect on Dec. 7.