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City To Vote On Banning Marijuana Dispensaries


420 Staff
Approval of Law Would Also Regulate Smoke, Tattoo Shops

Citing a conflict between state and federal laws, Moorpark is joining two other Ventura County cities in banning medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Moorpark City Council is poised to adopt the ban tonight, as well as restrictions on tattoo, body piercing and smoking paraphernalia shops.

The city has not had any applications for medical marijuana dispensaries. However, Moorpark officials were concerned about possible negative effects such as increased crime, including robberies, burglaries and sales of illegal drugs, which has been evident in other California cities that have the clinics, according to a staff report.

Moorpark implemented a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in 2005 while city officials, like others in the county, researched the issue. Last week, Oxnard banned medical marijuana dispensaries, as did Simi Valley last year.

"While there is sympathy for folks who have terminal illnesses, there is a certain amount of abuse involved, especially when it comes to sham clinics," said Dave Bobardt, city planning director.

California's Compassionate Use Act was passed in 1996, allowing patients suffering from a host of diseases such as cancer or AIDS to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. But the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that federal laws against all marijuana use take precedence over the state initiative.

In 2003, Sacramento lawmakers adopted a law establishing identification cards for users. Thirty-five of California's 58 counties have implemented the program. Ventura County is not among them.

Statewide, there are about 400 dispensaries, with about 300 in Los Angeles County alone, according to the staff report.

The city is also expected to adopt new rules for tattoo shops, smoking shops and secondhand stores.

Under the proposed ordinance, pawnshops would be banned on High Street, but thrift stores, consignment and secondhand stores would continue to be allowed in all commercial zones.

Although none currently exist in Moorpark, body piercing and tattoo shops will be prohibited in the industrial zones, but allowed in commercial developments with a conditional use permit.

There is one tobacco store in the city, and new rules prohibit smoking paraphernalia shops.

"They'll sell things that are often used for illegal drug use," Bobardt said.

The council unanimously passed the first reading of the ordinance and it is now up for final adoption. If approved, the ban would go into effect immediately.

The council will meet tonight at 7 at City Hall, 799 Moorpark Ave.

Source: Ventura County Star (CA)
Copyright: 2007 The E.W. Scripps Co.
Contact: letters@venturacountystar.com
Website: VenturaCountyStar.com : Ventura County, California, News, Business, Homes, Jobs, Cars & Information
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