45-Day Moratorium on Medical Pot Passed

45-Day Moratorium on Medical Pot Passed
Posted by CN Staff on January 21, 2005 at 11:46:34 PT
By Rhashad Pittman, Record Staff Writer
Source: Stockton Record 
Manteca -- Before Tuesday, there were no city laws that prevented someone from opening a business to distribute marijuana for medicinal purposes in Manteca. The lack of any such regulation prompted Police Chief Charlie Halford to ask the Manteca City Council to pass an emergency ordinance to establish a moratorium on medical-marijuana dispensaries in town.
"It's precautionary," Halford said. "It would be better to have something in place rather than have to react when someone applies to open up one." The council on Tuesday approved an urgency ordinance that establishes a 45-day moratorium on the opening or operation of medical-marijuana dispensaries to allow city staff time to research the issue and decide if they should be allowed in the city. The moratorium can be extended to as long as 10 months. Currently, there are no medical-marijuana-related businesses operating in Manteca, Halford said. Halford said he requested the action after a few people contacted the police about city requirements for opening up medical-marijuana dispensaries. Halford said such businesses have been known to attract crime, such as burglaries and robberies, in other communities. In 1996, the state's Compassionate Use Act, or Proposition 215, made it legal for people with severe medical conditions to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation or approval. While the state allows the use of marijuana for medical reasons, federal law bans it entirely. A U.S. Supreme Court decision on the issue is expected this summer, Halford said. In July, Stockton adopted an urgency ordinance that established a moratorium on medical-marijuana dispensaries, Halford said. Elk Grove and Citrus Heights have approved similar measures, he said. Modesto resident Jonathan Smith said he would like to open up a medical dispensary in Manteca because it is centrally located. Smith, 40, said medical-marijuana users have to travel to the Bay Area or Sacramento to buy the drug. "They need a place to come out here," he said. "I want an opportunity to dispense to the people." Halford said the city could regulate the dispensaries through a conditional use permit or ban them entirely. Councilman John Harris said he would like to do more research to see if medical marijuana is the best solution to treating illnesses. "It's got merit," Harris said. "But we've got to look at it very carefully." Nathan Sands, director of marketing and communications for the Sacramento-based Compassionate Coalition, a nonprofit group that represents medical-marijuana users, said many cities throughout the state were passing urgency ordinances. "We've found that if you enact an ordinance and if you regulate it correctly, it shouldn't be a problem," Sands said. Source: Record, The (CA)Author: Rhashad Pittman, Record Staff WriterPublished: Thursday, January 20, 2005 Copyright: 2005 The RecordContact: editor recordnet.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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