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Planners To Marijuana

PFlynn

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The Santa Clarita Planning Commission is set to tackle the issue of medical marijuana use within the city during a public hearing at tonight's Planning Commission meeting.

The city adopted an urgency ordinance in 2006 to prohibit the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. The two-year moratorium is set to expire March 26 and the city is now looking to modify the city's Unified Development Code to continue keeping the dispensaries out of the city.

The proposed code change defines a medical marijuana dispensary as a facility that distributes marijuana for medical purposes to physicians or qualified patients.

Although federal law prohibits the manufacturing, distribution, dispensing or possession of marijuana, the state of California legalized marijuana for medical purposes in 1996 when voters passed Proposition 215.

While the county handles applications for dispensaries in the unincorporated areas, the responsibility of approving dispensaries within city limits rests on the individual cities.

There are no medical marijuana dispensaries currently in operation in Los Angeles County unincorporated areas, said Mitch Glaser, supervising planner with the county Department of Regional Planning.

He said there have been no applications for medical marijuana dispensaries within the Santa Clarita Valley's unincorporated areas.

In January 2007, Sgt. Phil Morris of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station's Narcotics Bureau said an individual contacted him and said he planned to set up a medical marijuana dispensary in Castaic.

Morris said Monday that the man "decided not to go through with it" because of local opposition to setting up dispensaries.

Morris said the abuse of medical marijuana cards has been a growing problem since California began allowing for the medical use of the drug.

"I think the people that voted for the Proposition 215 saw the elderly people with glaucoma and thought they should be able to smoke their marijuana," Morris said.

Instead, he said that some teens make fictitious cards or acquire the cards from doctors outside the valley and then sell the drug within the Santa Clarita Valley.

If the Planning Commission approves the code modifications, the City Council will then consider the issue.

The Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers of City Hall, located at 23920 Valencia Boulevard.


Source:Sinnal,The The (Santa Clarita,CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Signal
Contact: The Signal: News for Santa Clarita Valley, California
Website: http://www.the-signal.c
 
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