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Ontario Bans Marijuana Dispensaries

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
It's official: pot shops won't be welcome within city limits any time soon.

The City Council adopted a permanent ban on medical marijuana dispensaries Tuesday night, just as a temporary two-year moratorium on the businesses was set to expire.

"You always have to get ahead of the curve on this because you don't want to be dealing with issues that other cities are dealing with," Councilman Jason Anderson said.

"This puts on the books, specifically: We don't want this," he added.

With the ban, approved on a 5-0 vote, Ontario joins Upland as Inland Valley cities that have adopted ordinances to prohibit businesses that sell, distribute, possess or grow marijuana.

Several other local cities, including Claremont, La Verne, Norco and Pomona, have established temporary moratoriums while they mull ordinances to address the issue in the long term. Montclair took initial steps toward prohibiting dispensaries Monday night.

Ontario officials adopted a two-year moratorium in March 2005, hoping that a clash between state and federal laws that govern medicinal marijuana would be resolved by the time the ban expired.

Under California's Compassionate Use Act, adopted by voters
in 1996, patients with a prescription can legally smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes. However, federal law prohibits the drug.

Court rulings have continued to send mixed messages, offering no clear direction for how local governments should regulate the drug, city officials said.

That being the case, and with the city's moratorium scheduled to expire Tuesday, Ontario officials decided to err on the side of the federal government, Mayor Paul Leon said.

"The federal government is not for it, and the city of Ontario chooses to follow the law of the federal government," Leon said.

In addition, officials worried about the potential for crime.

Other cities with medical marijuana dispensaries have reported break-ins, illegal sales and robberies of customers as they leave the stores, among other problems, Planning Director Jerry Blum said.

"We're trying to send a message to our youth, that this is not the way to run your life," Councilwoman Sheila Mautz said.

No one spoke against the ban Tuesday night.

News Moderator - User 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: DailyBulletin.com
Author: Jason Newell
Contact: jason.newell@dailybulletin.com
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Newspaper Group
Website: DailyBulletin.com - Ontario bans marijuana dispensaries
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