Pubdate: Fri, 18 Apr 2008
Source: Napa Valley Register (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Lee Enterprises
Author: Kerana Todorov, Register Staff Writer
Cited: American Canyon City Council
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


The American Canyon City Council approved a temporary moratorium on 
medical marijuana dispensaries after city staff reported someone 
wants to open a store in town.

Federal and state law conflict on the issue. Federal law prohibits 
possession of marijuana. However, California leaves the rules 
regulating medical marijuana dispensaries to local jurisdictions. The 
City Council voted unanimously for the 45-day moratorium Tuesday 
after city staff said the city's general plan does not address 
medical marijuana dispensaries. The moratorium is effective immediately.

City staff said the city needs a moratorium immediately to give city 
officials the time to evaluate the appropriateness of a medical 
dispensary for American Canyon. American Canyon Planning Director 
Brent Cooper said the individual interested in opening a dispensary 
in American Canyon had contacted the planning department about 10 days ago.

In his staff report, he explained that American Canyon's municipal 
code does not specifically address the regulation or location of 
medical marijuana dispensaries within the city limits. As cities ban 
medical marijuana dispensaries, he wrote, "it is increasingly likely 
that medical dispensaries may seek to locate in the City of American 
Canyon in the immediate future."

Moratoriums have been approved in San Francisco, Modesto, Huntington 
Beach, and other cities according to the report.

City Councilwoman Cindy Coffey cautioned that cities have been sued 
over the medical marijuana issue.

"I just think we need to be careful," Coffey said.

Vice Mayor Joan Bennett said the city needs the moratorium.

"We have nothing to deal with this issue," she said. "We need to have 
a moratorium so that we begin to do the business we can to protect 
the community."

On Thursday, City Councilman Ed West, who personally opposes a 
medical marijuana dispensary in American Canyon, asked for more information.

He wants to know the effects a dispensary would have on the 
community, who would come and where from, how it could increase 
traffic congestion and crime.

As an elected public official, West said he wants to weigh the 
staff's recommendation with the public's interest. His own opinion, 
he said, can take a back seat.

Cooper said he will bring more information to the City Council in May.

Acting American Canyon Police Chief Jean Donaldson said there is no 
medical marijuana dispensary in Napa County. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake