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Pot Shops Hang In Limbo

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
A moratorium on medical marijuana shops will likely be extended to one year when the Grass Valley City Council meets Friday.

The council will discuss the issue at 5 p.m. at City Hall, 125 E. Main St.

“The council's goal is to look at what the process would include to put (marijuana dispensaries) into appropriate places in the city,” said Mayor Lisa Swarthout Wednesday. “We want options from (police) Chief (John) Foster other than just banning them.”

The council enacted an emergency ordinance April 28 for a 45-day moratorium after the police chief learned at a state conference that crime has escalated around other marijuana dispensaries in California.

Council members did not indicate they wanted a full-fledged ban at that time. However, they did ask Foster and city staff to come up with rules and regulations about medical pot shops in case anyone applied to open one.

While she understood Foster's concerns, Swarthout said in April a medical marijuana dispensary in Colfax is posing no problems, according to information she received from that town's city attorney.

Since then, an application for a medical marijuana business license has been turned into Foster, but it has not been formally filed with the city. The names of the applicants could not be confirmed late Wednesday.

“I told them we would probably be extending the moratorium,” Foster said. Mayor Swarthout also said the council would probably extend the moratorium for the full year.

“This extension is needed in order to conduct a study on how best to address the potential imminent threats to public safety, health and welfare resulting from medical marijuana dispensaries,” said Foster in documents prepared for Friday's meeting.

While the emergency ordinance to extend the moratorium only deals with the upcoming 10 1/2 months starting Friday, there is language in it that could be used in the future for a permanent ban. The language says marijuana dispensaries are “a public nuisance,” and are not permitted within any city zone.

The council will need a four-fifths vote to extend the emergency ordinance out to a full year, according to city documents.

Nevada City passed a similar 45-day medical marijuana dispensary moratorium in mid-May, after resident Harry Bennett approached the city to open one. City officials are now working on a regulating ordinance to replace the emergency one.


News Hawk: User: 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: The Union
Author: Dave Moller
Copyright: 2009 The Union
Contact: dmoller@theunion.com
Website: Pot shops hang in limbo | TheUnion.com
 
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