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Corning Heads to Marijuana Dispensary Ban

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CORNING - City Council voted unanimously, with one absent, Tuesday to introduce an ordinance defining and prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits.

"It basically says any collective or cooperative with four or more members would be a dispensary and prohibits dispensaries within Corning," said Planning Director John Stoufer.

Vice Mayor Toni Parkins ran the meeting in the absence of Mayor Gary Strack.

Stoufer reminded council prior to the opening of the public hearing that the issue at hand was only the dispensaries and had nothing to do with cultivation. The city adopted a cultivation ordinance in Feb. 2010.

The cultivation ordinance prohibits outdoor cultivation and limits cultivation to a maximum area of 120 square feet.

It also bans cultivation in residences, require cultivation buildings to have a ventilation system approved by a building official and a six-foot fence with a minimum of 10 feet between property line and the building.

During a lengthy public comment period, Tuesday, Ken Prather, formerly of Tehama Herbal Collective, said he felt that the ordinance defining dispensaries as four or more people in combination with the cultivation ordinance was unfair.

"I don't think you should ban us to try and eliminate recreation use," he said. "Your driving us to the illicit drug market."

Other dispensary proponents brought up that there were no issues of crime or violence during the time THC was open and asked the city to consider other locations that would keep it away from children.

Neighborhood Full Gospel Church Pastor Ken Killinger and his wife Karen spoke up in favor of the ordinance.

"This is not a good thing for this community," Karen Killinger said. "People who want medical marijuana can go elsewhere."

One resident said she believed only doctors should be giving out prescribed marijuana. Another resident said marijuana odor has made her ill in the past.

The ordnance read Tuesday was agreed upon by the ad-hoc committee comprised of staff and council.

It was also presented at a public hearing during the May 17 Planning Commission meeting where it was recommended to the council after receiving no comments from the public.

Councilman John Leach said he had mixed emotions on the issue and thought it should go back to the ad-hoc committee to figure out a way to have a small dispensary regulated by law enforcement.

Parkins said she sees the whole thing as a no-win situation. She said most of the feedback she gets from residents on the issue is from residents who don't want a dispensary in town or believe the city is not ready for one.

Councilwoman Darlene Dickison said while she does not have a problem with medical marijuana for those who truly need it, she does not want a dispensary in downtown Corning.

While the public hearing was closed following Tuesday's meeting the public can still speak on the issue at the next meeting where it will be brought back to council, said City Attorney Michael Fitzpatrick.

The ordinance will be brought back to the June 28 meeting, which starts at 7:30 p.m. The Corning City Council meets the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at City Hall, 794 Third St.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: contracostatimes.com
Author: Julie Zeeb
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Copyright: Bay Area News Group
Website: Corning heads to marijuana dispensary ban
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