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Antioch Considers Moratorium On Marijuana Dispensaries


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ANTIOCH -- City leaders will decide next week whether to temporarily ban medical marijuana dispensaries after learning about a cannabis club operating here.

The City Council on Tuesday will consider a 45-day moratorium so that Antioch can revisit its policy, City Manager Jim Jakel said. The city's municipal code says any use, permit or license should be applicable to federal and state law, but it does not specifically mention marijuana dispensaries.

City officials said they learned that a dispensary opened last month in a shopping plaza off Wild Horse Road and Hillcrest Avenue without permits. Several neighboring businesses called police complaining that people were smoking marijuana outside and loitering, acting police Capt. Leonard Orman said.

Several Hillcrest Plaza business owners said marijuana odor wafts into their stores. The dispensary is also near a preschool and day care center, they said.

The landlord was already in the process of evicting the dispensary before the city intervened, Orman said.

City officials said it was unclear who was running the dispensary.

Neighboring Pittsburg adopted a 45-day moratorium after discovering East Bay Collective was operating a dispensary in the city. The collective is also being sued by Pittsburg in Contra Costa Superior Court for operating without a business permit and in violation of city zoning.

Officials with East Bay Collective could not be reached for

The emergency moratorium on Tuesday's agenda requires a four-fifths vote.

Antioch is the latest city to grapple with rules concerning cannabis clubs. If Antioch leaders approve the temporary ban, Jakel said city staff members will research what rules other cities have in place and craft options for the council to consider.

"We want to be able to take our time on this and make sure we do it right," Jakel said.

Neighboring Oakley and Brentwood prohibit dispensaries.

Using marijuana -- even for medicinal purposes -- is illegal under federal law. This conflicts with state law, which allows residents with certain medical conditions to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.

The request for a moratorium isn't related to an increase in the number of pot grows and marijuana-related cases in the past year, Orman said. He says, however, that concern among law enforcement agencies and the District Attorney's Office about illegal drug transactions at dispensaries has grown.

"Many are not being operated in the true spirit of the law," Orman said.

NewsHawk: MedicalNeed: 420 MAGAZINE
Author: Paul Burgarino
Source: mercurynews.com
Copyright: 2011 - San Jose Mercury News
Contact: Help - San Jose Mercury News
Website: Antioch considers moratorium on marijuana dispensaries - San Jose Mercury News
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