Marijuana companies want California to issue trademarks for pot

The sandwich baggie brimming with buds is gradually becoming a thing of the past in California. In its place, an era of name-brand marijuana is emerging.

Celebrities — including actress Whoopi Goldberg, rapper Snoop Dogg, rocker Melissa Etheridge and the family of reggae legend Bob Marley — are branding their own herb. Law firms have sprouted to help marijuana sellers brand their goods. Pretty packages of cannabis-infused products bear labels like “Highland Pantry” (almond butter), “Madame Munchie” (cookies) and “Sweet ReLeaf” (skin cream).

Branded pot products gained footing in recent years as California sanctioned medical use of marijuana, and other states began permitting recreational use. Now that California voters have approved a ballot measure allowing all adults to use the drug, cannabis businesses want more authority to brand their products.

But officially trademarking marijuana is a tricky legal task. The federal government still considers it an illegal drug, and won’t grant patents or trademarks for pot or anything made from it. Cannabis brands fear they are at risk of being copied. So marijuana businesses in California—eyeing what could become a $6.4 billion industry — have turned to the state government for help.

“Not being able to trademark your brand is a huge setback if you’re trying to get capital investment,” said Nate Bradley, who lobbies for marijuana sellers as the executive director of California Cannabis Industry Association. “If you’re not able to protect what you’re asking people to invest in, you’re not likely to get investments.”

A bill recently introduced in the Legislature would create a state-level trademark for California cannabis products, providing marijuana businesses new legal protections and greater access to cash from investors as the state ushers in a sanctioned commercial marketplace.

The California Secretary of State already has the power to register state-level trademarks, but only for items recognized by federal trademark law. Assembly Bill 64 would change that by allowing the secretary of state to register trademarks for cannabis goods and services.

“Cannabis businesses are like other businesses, lawful and regulated. They should be able to protect their intellectual property,” said bill author Assemblyman Rob Bonta, a Democrat from Alameda.

Trademarks will help bring marijuana vendors “out of the shadows,” he said, and also help consumers by assuring that “you’re going to get a certain quality or product when you purchase these goods.”

The Secretary of State’s office has not yet taken a position on the bill.

So far law enforcement groups, many of which opposed the ballot measure to legalize marijuana, are not speaking out against the move toward branding.

Lauren Michaels, a lobbyist for the California Police Chiefs Association, said her group is focused on making sure that branded products aren’t advertised in a way that appeals to children. Police chiefs are supporting Bonta’s bill because it would restrict marijuana billboards near freeways. (AB 64 also would speed up funding to establish standards for impaired driving and allow recreational marijuana to be sold through web-based delivery services — both contentious points in the initiative campaign.)

The bill already has some bipartisan support, including a Republican co-author. Still, some GOP lawmakers are wary. Senate Republican leader Jean Fuller of Bakersfield said she doesn’t yet have a position on the bill, but cautioned that “it’s always precarious for a state to take on the federal government and make laws that are in conflict.”

The policy is being considered in Sacramento as the nation prepares for a new federal government that could be more hostile to states that have permitted marijuana.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who is Republican President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, has criticized the Obama Administration for its hands-off approach. In a confirmation hearing this week, Sessions stopped short of saying he would go after states that have regulated pot, leaving marijuana advocates and state officials unsure of his plans.

Asked how Sessions as U.S. attorney general could impact marijuana policy in California, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown said he had “no idea.”

“Sometimes you take a step forward and then a step back,” Brown said during a Capitol budget press conference this week. “I think people will continue to be able to satisfy this particular need.”

Colorado and Washington — two states that legalized recreational marijuana a few years ago — already offer state-level trademarks for pot products, said attorney Amanda Conley, a founder of the National Cannabis Bar Association. Her Brand and Branch law firm in Oakland helps cannabis businesses navigate legal issues related to branding and trademarks.

Without a state-level trademark in California, businesses that want to sell cannabis under a brand name here must find a legal hack around the federal ban on trademarking pot. Conley said she advises companies to seek a federal trademark for the federally lawful goods and services they offer that do not themselves include marijuana. For instance, an entrepreneur could seek to trademark an informative website about the medical uses of marijuana, or the rechargeable batteries used with vaping pipes.

Sleek cases holding such pipes and batteries were on display at a Sacramento dispensary, where bottles of “Cannabis Quencher” juices and packages of “Heavenly Sweet” cookies stood near aromatic jars of indica and sativa.

Most patients ask for products based on the desired effect — a sleep aide, or something to relieve pain — said Kimberly Cargile, who runs the dispensary called A Therapeutic Alternative. But, she said, “they’re starting to more and more ask for brand names.”

Cargile said she expects to see more of that as the shop prepares for newly required state packaging rules. Plastic zip-locks will be phased out.

“In the future,” she said, “it will all be packaged and branded.” is a nonprofit news venture focused on covering state policy and politics.

Understanding Prop 64 and the changes to California’s marijuana laws for adults 21 and over.

Under the provisions of California’s Proposition 64, adults 21 and older may legally grow up to six marijuana plants inside a home, possess one ounce of marijuana and possess eight grams of concentrated marijuana. However, it is illegal to use in public, be under the influence while driving or possess on school grounds. Only licensed businesses will be permitted to sell marijuana for recreational use.

Marijuana use and cultivation remains illegal under federal law.

Fresno County enforces a strict ban on all cannabis cultivation where more than six plants are present. Violations could result in several consequences:

1. Growers can be arrested.

2. Growers can face heavy fines starting at $1,000 per plant.
3. Property owners, including family members, can be fined too.
4. Prop. 215/SB 420 compliance will not stop enforcement.
5. Additional fines, interest, legal fees and costs of abatement can be charged.
6. County can place lien on property for unpaid fines.

The Sheriff’s Office takes all tips seriously and encourages the public to report suspected marijuana grow sites. If you are aware of any type of illegal drug activity, report it anonymously by calling the Narcotics Hotline at 1-800-660-1086 or Email:

California Marijuana Dispensaries Are Already Selling Recreational Pot

Recreational marijuana has been legal in California for two months, and although individuals are allowed to grow up to six plants or possess an ounce of weed, it is not yet legal for businesses to sell recreational pot. Prop. 64, which passed on November 8th, postponed the start date for legal marijuana sales until January 1st of next year, giving the state time to establish a licensing system. Selling marijuana without a license is still illegal, although the crime has been downgraded from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Some medical marijuana dispensaries have jumped on the opportunity and promoted “Prop. 64-friendly” sales of marijuana to anyone who can prove they are over 21. Some dispensaries simply require customers to sign a form stating “under penalty of perjury” that they are legitimate medical marijuana patients.

“I think that they’ve gotten more emboldened,” James Wolak, captain of the Narcotics Bureau for the LA County Sheriff’s Department, said of the dispensaries. “People feel like now that it’s legal, anything goes. And that’s just not the case.”

“Dispensaries have always been operating in a legal gray area, so they are probably comfortable taking a risk,” said David Pullman, a Bay Area criminal defense attorney. The legality of selling marijuana may become even more risky if Jeff Sessions, a firm opponent of marijuana, is confirmed as US Attorney General.

“With the new Trump Administration coming in with Jeff Sessions, my feeling is that marijuana is going to be under greater scrutiny,” said medical dispensary owner Aaron Herzberg. “California is not in compliance and is absolutely at risk of being raided.”

Marijuana farmer’s market held in California

SAN DIEGO, C.A. (WNCT) – Marijuana farmers markets are becoming more and more popular in California.

On Saturday, a farmers market in San Diego featured traditional foods like cotton candy, sushi, and burritos, but all infused with marijuana.

To get in, you had to show your ID and have a medical marijuana card.

Voters in California recently approved the use of recreational marijuana with the passage of Prop 64.

Marijuana farmer’s market held in California

San Francisco’s City College Prepares To Fire Up Marijuana Curriculum

The hits just keep coming for City College of San Francisco, which earlier this month retained its accreditation for the next seven years and recently received a $9 million earmark from the Board of Supervisors to fund free tuition for city residents. (Mayor Lee intends to redesignate those funds, though, so it’s hardly a done deal.) Now City College has announced a new curriculum designed to prepare students to join the budding cannabis industry, after the passage of Prop. 64 in November made recreational use of marijuana legal in California. In the state of California alone, cannabis is projected to blaze up $6.5 billion in sales by 2020 according to industry analyst Arcview Market Research.

“The emerging workforce opportunities with employers who dispense cannabis are a robust career opportunity for members of our communities,” CCSF spokesperson Jeffrey Hamilton told SFist.

The City College cannabis classes will not simply be sessions on how to grow weed. “The curriculum we are discussing will align to roles and responsibilities for Pharmacy Technicians, not cultivation,” Hamilton said.

While still in the planning phase, this is curriculum is being foreseen as a joint operation between the Oakland-based ‘cannabis college’ Oaksterdam University and the labor union United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) that represents marijuana workers. Enrollees will likely be required to be enrolled in a UFCW apprenticeship program.

“By creating a partnership, we will ensure that these opportunities are broadly announced and that the model includes a pathway to college,” Hamilton told SFist. “When we partnered with UFCW they had an already existing relationship with Oaksterdam which is why they are part of the program.”

In other words, it is unlikely that you’ll be able to just enroll for free-tuition cannabis courses with no prerequisite involvement in a cannabis industry union. That said, prerequisites are still not stoned-in for these courses that would that are slated to begin in the spring 2018 semester.

“We are still in discussions about how to structure the partnership,” according to Hamilton. “As currently envisioned, initially the apprenticeship would be based on an ‘employment first’ model which means employers hire apprentices who then ‘earn and learn’ concurrently.”

A cannabis curriculum might sound like a cheap and gimmicky way to attract students wishing to “major in marijuana,” but City College is probably being quite shrewd to create apprenticeship programs and Pharm Tech curricula around the industry. California already generates nearly the triple the amount of cannabis revenue than the next-highest state of Colorado. Even though no-holds-barred recreational use is already in full effect in Colorado, that state’s marijuana industry made $996.2 million in 2015. California, which is still functionally a medical-use only state, cleared $2.5 billion in 2015.

Furthermore, marijuana is already California’ top cash crop. And the billion-dollar buzz of full recreational use hasn’t even kicked in yet.

City accused of violating new marijuana law

The city of Elk Grove was threatened with a lawsuit pertaining to the City Council’s Jan. 25 approval of extending a restriction on marijuana cultivation in the city.

This ordinance imposes a moratorium on all commercial marijuana land uses and all marijuana cultivation within the city.

This moratorium was previously approved by the council upon city staff’s recommendation during the council’s Dec. 14 meeting.

A city staff report recognizes this temporary ordinance as necessary for the promotion of “the immediate preservation of the peace, health and safety of the public against the potential detrimental impacts of marijuana cultivation.”

While standing before the council, Jackie McGowan, a cannabis business licensing consultant, said that a lawsuit would be the result of a vote by the council to extend the moratorium.

“I have found a plaintiff, and I’m just letting you know that if you do follow through with this, you will be sued,” she said.

Prior to the council’s recent meeting, the council received a letter from attorneys Joy Haviland and Jolene Forman, who represent the Drug Policy Alliance, a national advocacy group “committed to ending the war on drugs, and to building a policy response to drugs that is grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.”

Drug Policy Alliance co-sponsored the campaign for Proposition 64, which legalizes “the possession, transport, purchase, consumption and sharing of up to one ounce of marijuana and eight grams of concentrated marijuana for adults, 21 and over.” And this state measure, which was passed by voters last November, created a regulatory and licensing system for commercial cultivation.

The attorneys’ letter stresses that if the council decided to adopt the ordinance, it would violate state and constitutional mandates.

A portion of the letter notes that state law provides that it is “not a violation of state or local law” for anyone who is at least 21 to grow as many as six marijuana plants in their private residence.

It is also mentioned in the letter that the ordinance, by prohibiting all cultivation of marijuana, is “nothing short of a de facto ban on personal cultivation, which is disallowed under state law.”

Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), told the Citizen that the council’s recent action is in direct violation of Proposition 64.

“Proposition 64 makes it clear that local governments cannot ban the personal use, cultivation of plants indoors, basically,” he said. “They can regulate outdoor cultivation to some extent, reasonably, and they can ban commercial activity, if they want. But they cannot ban personal use cultivation. So, they’re out of line with the law there.”

Gieringer also commented on a possible lawsuit that could follow the council’s decision to extend the local marijuana moratorium.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there was (a lawsuit),” he said. “I know there were at least one or two citizens there (at the Jan. 25 meeting) who were upset about this, who are in a position to sue. And I know of attorneys who would be a lot happy to take something like this on.”

Elk Grove city staff told the Citizen, “The City believes the ordinance to be lawful and consistent with state law.”



California has always been a pioneer state for cannabis, legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 1996, at a time when the words of Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign still resonated through the proverbial country. Since then, California’s cannabis scene has lagged behind while Colorado and Washington led the charge towards the future with full cannabis legalization at a state level.

Well, no longer! California has officially entered a new era with the passage of Proposition 64, albeit with a few growing pains, as the state turns from under-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries to a strictly controlled legal market. It’s a no-brainer that California would legalize cannabis, but the state’s in for a long, winding road before full legal implementation goes into effect. No doubt, there will be a few naysayers along the way, but come 2018, California’s future will be so bright, you’ll have to wear shades.


Florida has battled time and again to legalize cannabis for medicinal use. Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 1030 into law to allow the use of low-THC cannabis oil for certain qualifying patients, but during the 2014 general election, Amendment 2, which would have expanded the medical cannabis program to include more options and more qualifying conditions, failed by the slimmest of margins — it was just 2% shy of the 60% needed to pass a state constitutional amendment.

Not to be dissuaded, Florida cannabis advocates were even more determined this time around, taking hard lessons to heart and making a concerted effort to champion their cause, to raucous success. Florida was the first state to officially pass its cannabis initiative on election night, with flying colors, no less. With 71.3% of the vote, Florida’s MMJ amendment passed with the highest percentage in favor of any cannabis initiative on the ballot.


Maine’s legalization success almost didn’t happen. The legalization proponents faced multiple setbacks, first when there were two competing groups vying for a spot on the ballot — one initiative proposed by a large national group backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, and a second initiative proposed by a smaller, locally based group. When the two groups finally agreed to compromise on a single initiative, they were nearly disqualified from the ballot when more than 21,000 signatures were thrown out by Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap after a discrepancy in one notary’s signatures.

Luckily, the Pine Tree State advocates refused to give up and, after a long legal battle, 11,305 signatures were revalidated, just barely earning enough signatures to win a spot on the ballot. When Election Day finally came, the initiative won by just 4,000 votes, causing anti-marijuana prohibitionists to call for a recount to the tune of $500,000 from the taxpayers. The recount began, but with proponents still in the lead by the time counters called it quits for the holidays, Maine’s legalization opponents finally admitted defeat. You’ve come a long way, baby, but you made it!


Massachusetts’ legalization campaign was the one we were all betting against. After an excruciatingly long struggle to implement a struggling medical marijuana program, as well as a fully funded opposition campaign headed up by the governor, the mayor of Boston, and the Massachusetts attorney general, the initiative seemed like a gamble at best. Massachusetts has long had widespread support for legalization in addition to medical marijuana, but support from the public does not necessarily translate into policy change — just look at New York’s struggling medical program.

Massachusetts voters had something to say about it come Election Day, however, and put their money where their mouths were — and right into the ballot box. In spite of the fierce opposition, Question 4 passed with 53.4% of voters in favor of joining Maine as the first East Coast states with full retail cannabis legalization. Even so, the fight’s not over yet — officials may delay implementation and push back the timeline.


Montana’s cannabis victory may not seem groundbreaking, but it’s arguably the most crucial cannabis victory of 2016. It held the distinction of having a booming medical marijuana program with over 13,000 qualified patients across the state, but an outdated 2011 law nearly dismantled the entire system overnight. Medical marijuana was legalized in the state in 2004, but prohibitionists pushed for a law in 2011 that created tough restrictions on the program, forcing dispensaries to cater to only three patients and limiting the number of patients that physicians were allowed to certify.

The law was signed into law in 2011 and the number of patients dropped from almost 30,000 to less than 9,000. A state judge blocked the most restrictive clauses, but 2016 reared its ugly head, and a Montana Supreme Court judge upheld the law, essentially forcing dispensaries to close and patients to turn to the black market. Not only that, but opponents introduced two other initiatives aimed at further dismantling the cannabis industry in Montana.

Luckily, Montana is chock-full of determined pro-cannabis folks who led the charge to the ballot box, and the only initiative that made it on the ballot eventually won out in the election and overturned the 2011 law. Dispensary doors were allowed to reopen and patients breathed a huge sigh of relief.


Nevada’s journey to legalization was better organized than many of the above efforts. The state has always been a bit wary of legalizing drugs for obvious reasons (Sin City, anyone?), but when it organized the medical marijuana dispensary infrastructure, it was already thinking even further ahead to the possibility of legalization.

When Question 2 passed, as expected, with 54.5% of the vote, officials were already prepared to jump right into implementation. Not only that, but it appears that the legislation’s authors were paying close attention to other states in the process of legalizing; it’s comprehensive, with a clear timeline laid out and achievable goals within reach. Nevada has set itself up to make a pretty penny in the cannabis tourism industry, and there will be plenty of people getting ready for a Vegas vacation in the near future.

North Dakota

Right up there with Arkansas, North Dakota was on the list of “Last to Legalize” for many speculating industry insiders. Tepid support was found during the last polling on the topic several years ago, with just 47% of North Dakota respondents in favor of medical cannabis legalization, so when North Dakota Compassionate Care emerged with more than 17,600 signatures in favor of the proposed initiative, it took everyone by surprise.

Not only did the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act earn a spot on the ballot, it won with a whopping 63.7% in favor, a far cry from the lukewarm 47% who shrugged at medical marijuana in 2014. This marks a huge about-face for the Peace Garden State, and there will surely be some patients that will benefit greatly from it.


Australia made headway for the first time in decades after an emotional story turned the tide in favor of medical legalization. Daniel Haslam was suffering from bowel cancer and while undergoing chemotherapy, he struggled with pain, nausea, vomiting, and an endless stream of awful symptoms. A fellow cancer patient suggested cannabis, and he immediately felt relief.

Sadly, Haslam lost his battle with cancer, but his mother, Lucy Haslam, took her fight beyond the hospital waiting room. She started a petition to legalize medicinal cannabis that gained international attention, and soon government officials took note. The New South Wales government was the first state to officially conduct clinical trials on cannabis, and the state of Victoria followed suit soon after, embarking on plans for a cannabis cultivation trial. Queensland decriminalized cannabis for medical use later in the year, and the dominoes keep falling.

The road to medical marijuana legalization in Australia is just beginning, but it couldn’t have happened without the tireless efforts of a mother fighting for the rights of her son.

LA County leaders to begin talks on regulating legal marijuana sales

With legal marijuana sales set to begin in California in less than a year, Los Angeles County leaders will introduce a motion Tuesday to start the process of crafting a set of regulations to protect public safety and to encourage a sustainable and potentially multi-billion-dollar cannabis industry.

The Board of Supervisors plans to instruct more than a dozen county offices, including the sheriff’s and fire departments as well as regional planning and public health officials, to nail down every detail of how to enforce the cultivation, transportation, distribution, processing, manufacturing, testing, retail sale, and delivery of medical and recreational cannabis. The goal is to create and pass an ordinance well in advance of Jan. 1 2018, when recreational marijuana becomes legal to sell.

“The county’s regulations should prioritize the protection of public safety and health as well as the quality of life in our communities,” noted a nine page motion that will be introduced by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Sheila Kuehl.

“Should the county fail to regulate, it could open the door to a number of negative impacts: illegal sales or use of hazardous materials in the manufacturing process,” the motion said. “It is critical that our zoning regulations promote equity in availability and siting while not placing an undue burden on anyone unincorporated community in the county.”

The unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County encompass more than 2,600 square miles and include communities within Gorman, Topanga, Altadena and West Carson among others. About 1.5 million residents live in unincorporated Los Angeles county.

“This is a significant step in that it is a necessary one toward creating a huge new framework that will govern exactly how legalized cannabis will be regulated in L.A. County,” said Hahn spokeswoman Liz Odendahl in a statement. “Our first and foremost concern is that we need to be able to ensure that the cannabis people purchase is safe to consume.”

She said cities throughout California already have enacted ordinances that govern where marijuana plants can be grown and processed, tested and sold. Hahn’s priority, Odendahl added, is to make sure that the unincorporated areas of L.A. County benefit from similar ordinances.

Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, sailed to victory after voters approved it in the November election. The act allows adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis and grow up to six plants per home and takes effect on Jan. 1. 2018. Provisions within the act also prohibit smoking or consuming marijuana in any “public places” or while driving and possession on school grounds. The passage of Proposition 64 followed an action in 2015 by Gov. Jerry Brown, who enacted the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, a trio of bills regulating California’s medical marijuana industry at the state level. The formal state licensing process also is expected to begin on Jan. 1, 2018.

Last year, Los Angeles county supervisors considered using taxes generated by recreational marijuana to help fund supportive services for the homeless. During those discussions, they learned that a 5 to 10 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana could generate between $78 million and $130 million annually for the county.

Meanwhile, Supervisor Kathryn Barger also will introduce a motion Tuesday that extends a ban on the cultivation, manufacturing and retail sales of medical marijuana in Los Angeles County’s unincorporated areas. The current ban is set to expire in June.

San Diego legalizes recreational pot dispensaries

Sn Diego legalized recreational pot dispensaries on Tuesday and the city also opened up the possibility it will allow pot farms, manufacturing facilities and testing labs.

San Diego is the first local city to approve recreational marijuana sales since state voters approved Proposition 64 in November, and no other cities in the county have indicated they intend to follow suit.

Sales of recreational pot will begin when statewide regulations being crafted in Sacramento are completed sometime before next January. Dispensaries along the coast may have to wait for Coastal Commission approval, but city officials said that’s expected by October.

The San Diego City Council unanimously agreed on Tuesday to allow the sale of recreational marijuana at 15 dispensaries approved by the city to sell medical marijuana, pending the state action, and any additional dispensaries the city approves in the future.


Council members also agreed to consider later this year approving regulations for commercial cultivation, testing and distribution of marijuana and byproducts of the drug, such as edibles.

Specific regulations for those activities weren’t available for the council to approve on Tuesday because city staff and the San Diego Police Department had recommended the city ban them based on concerns about crime and other potential problems.

Council members said they were partly motivated by the November election, when 62 percent of city voters approved Proposition 64.

“They told us what they expect us to do,” said Councilman Chris Ward, noting that Proposition 64 also allows local governments to legalize cultivation, manufacturing and testing.

Councilwoman Barbara Bry said the council’s move could boost city tax revenues and the local economy while also making sure marijuana products are safe.

“I believe it is our responsibility to implement the will of the voters,” she said. “It’s also our duty to wisely and responsibly regulate every part of the supply chain in order to ensure that our consumers have a safe and vetted product.”

The council also included a “sunset clause” in the legislation it approved, forcing the city to either ban or approve cultivation and manufacturing within nine months.

In addition, the council agreed to allow existing cultivation and testing facilities already operating within the city to stay open until the council decides how to regulate such businesses.

City revenues from marijuana would be significantly higher if San Diego agrees to allow cultivation and manufacturing, the office of the city’s independent budget analyst told the council.

No estimate of overall revenue was given, but the head of the Ocean Beach Planning Board said San Diego could receive as much as $30 million per year.

San Diego voters approved a local tax on recreational marijuana on Nov. 8 that would start at 5 percent and rise to 8 percent in July 2019. That tax would apply to pot farms and factories as well as dispensaries.

The council’s vote came after a three-hour public hearing where supporters and opponents of legalization focused mostly on cultivation and manufacturing, not sales at dispensaries.

Supporters of allowing cultivation and manufacturing said banning those activities would cost San Diego jobs by shifting such activities to Orange County and other areas, and increase air pollution by forcing tons of marijuana to be trucked into the city from elsewhere.

They also said there is essentially no other industry allowed to sell its product, but not allowed to grow, manufacture or test it locally.

Opponents said factories manufacturing edibles, hash oil and other marijuana products are prone to explosions, and that pot farms have been linked to organized crime.

Police Lt. Matt Novak, commanding officer of the Police Department’s narcotics unit, said pot farms and factories are magnets for crime and would put additional stress on police resources.

He also said farms and manufacturing facilities in Colorado had experienced fires and explosions, noting that they typically use pesticides and other dangerous chemicals.

“Our take is this is going to very much negatively affect public health and public safety,” Novak told the council.

He also said organized crime syndicates have used the opportunity to grow marijuana legally in states like Colorado to boost supplies of the drug that they then divert to states where it’s illegal because they can charge more there.

It’s not clear how loose or strict the council would be willing to be on regulations for cultivation and manufacturing, but Councilman Mark Kersey expressed a desire to see “narrowly crafted” rules proposed.

Phil Rath, leader of a coalition of the city’s permitted medical marijuana dispensaries, said the group is open to “reasonable” regulations for pot farms and factories.

But he said allowing such activities would be crucial to helping close illegal dispensaries, who don’t pay taxes, don’t adhere to strict city security rules and can get the marijuana they sell more cheaply because they can buy it from anywhere.

“If this trend of adding costs to legal operators while illegal sellers avoid them continues, price differences are going to further force consumers to increase their illegal purchasing habits,” Rath said. “People vote with their pocketbook and that’s what we’re afraid of.”

The city’s 15 legal dispensaries, eight of which have opened, all conform with regulations that prevent such businesses from opening near housing, schools, churches, parks and other sensitive uses, while also requiring security guards, cameras and other safety measures.

The legislation adopted on Tuesday would also refine some existing regulations to avoid some unintended consequences of the city’s medical marijuana ordinance, which was approved in 2014.

An example is making the definition of a park more specific to prevent open space and riparian areas from blocking some proposed dispensaries, which will allow a few more to open.

The legislation would also tighten sign rules to allow only alphabetic characters spelling the name of the business. This change is in response to dispensaries seeking to add graphics of marijuana plants or related images.

Dispensaries would also face a new requirement to remove graffiti within 24 hours and keep the area surrounding their businesses free of litter.

Customers would need to be 21 years old — a requirement under Proposition 64 — to buy recreational marijuana, while medical marijuana would still be available to those 18 and up.

San Diego on Tuesday headed in the opposite direction of the county Board of Supervisors, which voted last week to move ahead with a plan to ban pot farms and dispensaries in unincorporated areas and to force existing facilities to shut their doors in the next few years.

The city of La Mesa is the only local government other than the city of San Diego to indicate it may allow cultivation and manufacturing.

The legal dispensaries in San Diego that have opened are located at 3703 Camino del Rio South in Mission Valley, 2335 Roll Drive in Otay Mesa, 3452 Hancock St. in the Midway District, 658 E. San Ysidro Blvd., 2405 Harbor Drive in Barrio Logan, 7128 Miramar Road in Mira Mesa, 5125 Convoy St. in Kearny Mesa and 10671 Roselle St. in Torrey Pines/Sorrento Valley.

Seven others have received final approval but haven’t yet opened. Their locations are: 8863 Balboa Ave. in Kearny Mesa, 8888 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., 3455 Camino Del Rio South in Mission Valley, 4645 DeSoto St. in eastern Pacific Beach, 1028 Buenos Avenue in Linda Vista, 3500 Estudillo Street in the Midway District and 3385 Sunrise Avenue, just southeast of downtown in Stockton.