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Napa Planners Narrowly Support Marijuana Dispenary


Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
Napa's plan to authorize only one medical marijuana dispensary struck several planning commissioners as perhaps not enough.

For two commissioners, even one would be too many.

The Planning Commission voted 3-2 Thursday night to support a zoning change that would allow pot clinics in office zones. The City Council will be the final word on this.

A majority of commissioners supported the council's decision to allow medical marijuana dispensaries under highly regulated conditions.

"The words 'Napa' and 'progressive' usually don't go together," said Commissioner Gordon Huether, who approved of the city's new direction.

Commissioner Michelle Benvenuto disagreed. "I don't think Napa actually needs to be this progressive," she said.

Benvenuto said marijuana had a proven medical benefit, but she preferred that patients grow their own or go out of town to buy their medicine. "I don't think it's an appropriate land use for Napa," she said.

Commissioner Jay Golik voted with Huether and Chairman Arthur Roosa in recommending that the council create zoning for marijuana clinics, but said the city was being too conservative in wanting to allow only one clinic in the first year.

"My feeling is we're not looking at this big enough," Golik said. He agreed with potential applicants who said the demand might swamp a single clinic and lead to higher prices.

The city's proposed ordinance would allow the first clinic to serve about 7,700 patients – 10 percent of the city's population – yet the demand could be greater than that, potential applicants said.

Roosa asked about a statewide proposition planned for the November ballot that would legalize marijuana for recreational use. How would this affect Napa's medical marijuana ordinance? he said.

Legally, the proposition might not have any consequence, but it could reduce the economic viability of a pot clinic, Deputy City Attorney Peter Spoerl said.

The commission's zoning recommendation and comments on medical marijuana will go to the City Council, which will hold a hearing on June 1.

Once regulations are in place, the city will invite applications for the first license.

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Source: Napa Valley Register
Contact: Napa Valley Register
Copyright: 2010 Napa Valley Register
Website: Napa planners narrowly support marijuana dispenary
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