They'll decide whether or not to allow commercial growing and selling in city at 6 p.m. meeting

The City of Taft is going to be making the final decision on allowing cannabis in the city starting tonight.

The Taft City Council is going to discuss proposed ordinances to either ban all commercial cannabis growing, manufacturing and retail sales or allow some commercial activity like growing or manufacturing.

The Council will choose from two options -- an outright ban on all commercial cannabis activity or

a ban on retail sales and allowing growing and manufacturing in industrial or manufacturing zones

tonight at 6 p.m.

Tonight's vote will be on the introduction and first reading of the proposed ordinance. Final approval will come two weeks later at the Nov. 21 meeting and any ordinance enacted would then go into effect 30 days later.

That puts the City's laws on the books just before Proposition 64, passed by the state's voters in November 2016, goes into effect.

The new law gives local government the power to regulate or ban commercial growing, manufacturing

and selling of cannabis products and commercial cannabis activity but, if a city or county has no laws

regulating it, cannabis businesses could open anywhere they meet existing land use ordinances.

It will cap a process that started in the summer with a public meeting and public hearings and comments at Taft Planning Commission meetings.

Judging from public comments made by individual councilmembers and overwhelming public opposition, it's almost a foregone conclusion that no retail sales will be permitted.

Whether the City will follow Kern County and the City of Bakersfield in an outright ban on all commercial cannabis when Proposition 64 goes into effect on Jan. 1 2018, or allow some growing or

manufacturing is the only question.

There has been strong opposition to any type of sales or commercial growing in the city, but one pair

of businessmen want the City to permit growing and manufacturing.

Travis Neumann and Ryan Coulter have said they would like to build a facility to grow cannabis

and produce concentrated cannabis. Developer fees and licensing could provide a significant amount of

money for the City's general fund if the City Council votes to permit a grow and manufacturing operation.

The funding has been an attraction for some cities to consider allowing cannabis.

The Arvin Planning Commission recently recommended that the city allow commercial cannabis.

Taft's Planning Commission voted in late October to recommend Taft not allow any commercial

cannabis, but it was a split vote.

Planners Ron Orrin, Shannon Jones and Jerry Livingston voted to ban any retail or commercial

growing, while Bob Leikam and Susan Banner voted to allow it.

That vote was only a recommendation, however, and the City Council will have the final say.