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Marijuana Dispensary Ban up for Planning Commission's Debate

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Planning officials later this week could take the first step in snuffing out medical pot patients' last hope for a dispensary in Nevada County.

On Thursday, the Nevada County Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on a permanent ordinance prohibiting the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county.

If commissioners vote for the prohibition, it would go to the county's Board of Supervisors at its July meeting for final approval.

Supervisors have previously voiced their support for such a measure.

Grass Valley and Nevada City enacted permanent bans in January 2011 and December 2009, respectively.

The Town of Truckee doesn't have a specific ban, but dispensaries are not allowed in the town under its development code, said John McLaughlin, Truckee's Community Development Director.

"The approach of banning the lawful distribution of marijuana being used for medicinal purposes is really going counter to the intent of the people of California when they passed" Proposition 215 allowing the use of medical marijuana, said Stephen Munkelt, a Nevada City attorney and marijuana legalization proponent.

Currently, dispensaries are banned on a temporary basis under an ordinance enacted originally in 2009 and reaffirmed by supervisors in July 2010. It expires on Aug. 11 of this year.

If commissioners recommend the ban and supervisors pass it in July, it would take effect before the current ban expires, said Tyler Barrington, senior planner with the county.

The county's top law enforcers, including Sheriff Keith Royal and District Attorney Cliff Newell, previously have strongly supported such a ban.

"The mere presence of marijuana dispensaries encourages illegal growers to plant, cultivate, and transport ever more marijuana, in order to supply and sell their crops to these storefront operators in the thriving medical marijuana dispensary market," wrote Royal in a 2009 report to supervisors.

Patients still have access to marijuana grown and sold directly from growers or through co-ops, staff noted in a report attached to the ordinance.

The planning commission meets at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Eric W. Rood Administrative Building on 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City. The public is welcome.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: theunion.com
Author: Kyle Magin
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Website: Marijuana dispensary ban up for planning commission's debate
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