The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed an ordinance allowing the sale and delivery of non-flavored cannabis and vaping products in unincorporated county areas.
The vote was 3-2, with supervisors Federal Glover and Candace Andersen dissenting.
The county already has a ban on flavored tobacco in place that won't change.
Supervisors who voted in favor of the ordinance said they want cannabis deliveries opened to elderly people and those with health problems who can benefit from the positive effects of cannabis. They also made it clear they wanted to put as much energy into keeping it away from young people.
"What this does do is allow the sale of one particular set of cannabis products, which are already sold in many of the cities of Contra Costa County and are available to purchase in nearly every other part of the state that is approved cannabis sales," said Supervisor Diane Burgis, who introduced the ordinance.
"What we're trying to do by having policies here in Contra Costa County is to give people a way to access safe products, and I'm interested in working on making sure that enforcement is done and that prevention is done," Burgis said.
In 2016, Californians approved Proposition 64 to legalize adult recreational cannabis use. More than 60% of Contra Costa County voters voted in favor.
The new ordinance won't affect the county's ban on flavored vaping products, enacted in November 2019. It also included flavored tobacco products, and menthol cigarettes. The ordinance also prohibited the sale or delivery of cannabis vaping products.
County supervisors in 2018 passed an ordinance regulating commercial cannabis activities and establishing standards for sale and delivery while requiring anyone engaged in commercial cannabis activities or deliveries to obtain a county health permit, as well as other permits required by the county and state.
Many Contra Costa cities already allow recreational cannabis vaping product sales.
Glover said the county took a leadership position in 2019 on which he doesn't want to backpedal, especially considering many young people supported the ban.
"I don't think that this is the time to turn back good leadership and policy decisions that talk about the health and welfare of our youth," Glover said. "We are sending false messages or confusing messages to our public that it's OK to do this while at the same time saying that we want to prevent it from happening by educating people."
"I think we educate people (and) we keep the ban that's in place today," he said.
Supervisors also asked the county health services department to develop a program designed to raise awareness about the dangers of youth cannabis vaping and curtail the illegal market and return to the board with a recommended program with funding by the cannabis industry.