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Shasta Lake Doesn't Ban Pot; Dispensaries Get Council Vote To Stay Open

Terry Gardener

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SHASTA LAKE -- Council members reversed the local trend of banning medical marijuana dispensaries Tuesday night and voted instead to ditch their permit system.

The council voted 4-1 to have city staffers prepare an ordinance that will remove dispensary permitting requirements from the municipal code while keeping existing zoning regulations in place, City Manager Carol Martin said Wednesday.

The discussion of a possible ban, placed on the agenda at Councilwoman Dolores Lucero's request, comes more than a month after Redding's City Council voted to outlaw at least 14 dispensaries in its city limits. Anderson's City Council approved a ban in October, while the Shasta County Board of Supervisors approved a dispensary ban for the county's unincorporated areas last week.

Redding's ban was inspired, in part, by a 2nd District Court of Appeal ruling in October that efforts by officials in Long Beach to dictate which collectives can operate and which cannot go far beyond the state's Prop. 215 and conflict with federal law.

"That decision invalidated any permitting activities," Martin said.

City Attorney John Kenny argued Tuesday that while the ruling doesn't allow for permitting, the city can still regulate dispensaries through zoning. There are two dispensaries operating in Shasta Lake.

Lucero cast the lone dissenting vote. She said at Tuesday's meeting she sympathized with patients but didn't think the city could allow collectives.

"I know that you need the medicine, but I'm not willing to break the law," she said.

Nearly 30 people spoke on the item, with all but two in favor of the dispensaries, City Clerk Toni Coates said Wednesday.

"I know there were a lot of people concerned that Shasta Lake was going to follow Redding," said Jamie Kerr, owner of the 530 Collective on Locust Avenue. "From what I've learned from two-plus years operating here is Shasta Lake really takes its own path."

Kerr called the council's decision a "win-win-win" for the dispensaries, their patients and the city.

"I really applaud the decision of the City Council and commend them on taking a progressive stance," she said. "They took the path that I truly hoped that they would."

Tammy Brazil, CEO of the Queen of Dragons collective on Shasta Dam Boulevard, said patients and employees were worried the council would enact a ban.

"Sometimes it's 'monkey see, monkey do,' but we've got some great people in Shasta Lake," Brazil said.

"It just really, from what we can see today, it really brought back everybody's faith."

The 530 Collective's permit expires in April, and the permit for the Queen of Dragons expires in March. Those permits won't be revoked, but they won't be renewed either, Martin said.

Zoning code will still be in place to regulate where, when and how the dispensaries may operate. Those rules have been in place since January 2010.

Unlike Redding, Shasta Lake's two dispensaries haven't had any law enforcement calls or nuisance complaints, Development Services Director Carla Thompson said in a staff report.

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Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2011 Record Searchlight
Contact: letters@redding.com
Website: Redding Record Searchlight: Local Redding, California News Delivered Throughout the Day.
 
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