Pubdate: Tue, 21 Jun 2005
Source: Daily Pilot (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Los Angeles Times
Author: Alicia Robinson, Daily Pilot
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


City Will Discuss Whether To Place Moratorium On Proposed Marijuana 

The Costa Mesa City Council will decide tonight whether to follow a number 
of Southern California cities in banning the establishment of dispensaries 
that distribute medical marijuana.

Both Costa Mesa and Newport Beach have been approached by people interested 
in opening medical marijuana facilities. In response, Newport Beach's City 
Council in May voted to put a 45-day moratorium on such dispensaries while 
the city figures out whether to allow them and, if so, under what conditions.

Costa Mesa City Council members now face the same decision. In a split vote 
last month, the Planning Commission recommended a moratorium on marijuana 
dispensaries. During the moratorium, the city would create rules under 
which people can apply for permits to operate dispensaries.

California law allows the use of marijuana as a medical remedy. However, 
officials are still hashing out how that law is affected by a June 6 U.S. 
Supreme Court ruling that medical marijuana users can be prosecuted under 
federal drug laws.

Planning Commissioner Donn Hall said he proposed that recommendation 
because to forbid medical marijuana dispensaries would be tossing the 
voters' will out the window.

"It's basically telling them: 'We don't care what you said. We're smarter 
than you,'" Hall said.

In spite of the Supreme Court ruling, some organizations are interested in 
opening medical marijuana facilities, so the council will have to make a 
policy decision on whether to allow them, Costa Mesa City Attorney Kimberly 
Hall Barlow said.

"We just feel that in light of the inquiries that have been made, that 
particular type of use should be addressed in our code," she said.

Although three of the five planning commissioners supported creating rules 
to govern marijuana dispensaries, it's not clear whether the council will 

As a Sheriff's deputy, Mayor Allan Mansoor said he would be concerned about 
the increases in crime that other cities with medical marijuana 
dispensaries have seen.

"If we're talking about dispensing drugs, that's what we have pharmacies 
for," he said. "Let it go through the established route."
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