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Fontana To Let Dispensary Ban Expire

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
The City Council will allow a 45-day moratorium banning medical marijuana dispensaries to expire on Friday.

The council passed the emergency ban in early April, weeks after a group sought permits for a dispensary but was turned down. The moratorium was designed to give city staff time to draw up a permanent ordinance covering such dispensaries, also called pot clubs.

The city now says a special council meeting called for tonight to consider extending the moratorium has been canceled in the wake of an opinion by City Attorney Clark Alsop.

Alsop said dispensaries are "a land-use issue and should go to the Planning Commission," said Shannon Casey, a senior planner with the city.

"If this were any other land use, we'd do the same thing." Casey said.

Existing city rules hold that any land use not addressed by the city's codes is automatically banned, Casey said, and those codes are mum about dispensaries.

Alsop could not be reached to explain why he didn't issue his opinion before the council enacted the emergency ordinance.

Starting at the end of February, the City Council attempted several times to pass the emergency ordinance but could not because of absent members. At least four votes were needed for the ban to take effect immediately. The vote finally was taken in April, when the full council attended a scheduled meeting.

Meanwhile, the city staff continues to work on a permanent ordinance.

Casey expects it to surface around June 19, when the Planning Commission is scheduled to meet. Planners likely will have a new ordinance ready for the commission's consideration that night.

Casey said it's too early to say whether planners will recommend that dispensaries be allowed in the city, or be banned.

Although California voters approved marijuana's use for medicinal purposes a decade ago, federal law still prohibits the drug's use or possession.

Police Chief Larry Clark has said the difference between state and federal law could put officers in an unusual position regarding marijuana dispensaries.

"We're looking at what other cities have done, and we're looking at what ordinances other cities have had, both for and against," Casey said. "It's a complicated issue."

News Hawk- User 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: The Press-Enterprise
Author: Michael Mello
Contact: mmello@PE.com
Copyright: The Press-Enterprise
Website: Fontana cancels plans to extend ban on pot dispensaries after city attorney says it is unnecessary
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