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Council Could Extend Medical Marijuana Moratorium

Herb Fellow

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The Morgan Hill City Council will decide whether it will allow medical marijuana clubs to sprout up around the city during its Wednesday evening council meeting. While pot clubs are non-existent in South County, Morgan Hill City Manager Ed Tewes' office and the Morgan Hill Police Department hope to keep it that way.

While the use of marijuana for medical purpose is still illegal under federal law, it is legal under state law. The conflict among both laws was evident when the federal government shut down clubs in the East and North Bay last fall.

According to Morgan Hill police Cmdr. David Swing, the department recommends that the city extend the current prohibition or moratorium for another year, granted by state law.

Last March, the city imposed a 45-day moratorium that was set to expire April 21, 2007, but the city opted to enforce a state law that allows cities to extend that period by 10 months and 15 days.

"We think we agree with the recommendation to continue to ban dispensaries," Morgan Hill Police Cmdr. David Swing. "The current positions with the federal and state laws pose a challenge for the city."

The department has also noted to the city that a pot club in the city will increase violence in the community and call for service from a department that is already low on staff, Swing said.

According to Brian Stott, Tewes' assisstant, the shortage of Morgan Hill police plays a large role in the decision to keep the clubs out of the city.

"What we have is a shortage of police and they're already working hard enough," Stott said. "There aren't any clubs in the South County and we as a city feel that it isn't appropriate for Morgan Hill to be a hub."

Morgan Hill Mayor Steve Tate agrees with the department's concern.

"I think we need to continue that," said Tate pertaining to the current ban on marijuana dispensaries. "Everybody doesn't want it and we don't need to buck against it."

If you drive a little south of Morgan Hill, you can stop into two medical pot clubs in Santa Cruz, which opened their doors in 2006.

Over the past two years, the Surf City has bragged to have no serious crime surrounding its new pot clubs as it requires consistent police inspections.

Last spring, the Morgan Hill City council extended the research and discussion of medical pot clubs and the impact they bring to their surrounding community.

Source: Morgan Hill Times
Copyright: 2008, Morgan Hill Times
Contact: Jeremy Barousse - Special to the Times
Website: MorganHillTimes.com | Council could extend medical marijuana moratorium
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