Pubdate: Thu, 13 Aug 2009
Source: Red Bluff Daily News (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Red Bluff Daily News
Author: Julie Zeeb, DN Staff Writer


CORNING - After much heated discussion and several interruptions from 
a standing room audience, the City Council adopted a 45-day ordinance 
Tuesday banning medical marijuana dispensaries, collectives and cooperatives.

We need 45 days to figure this out, said Councilwoman Toni Parkins. I 
want to make sure we get it correct and do it legally.

Parkins said she doesn't know a whole lot about collectives like 
Tehama Herbal Collective, which proposes to do business in downtown 
Corning, but she wants to become educated about it.

You can give us all the paperwork you want, Parkins said.

Planning Director John Stoufer said there is no specific zoning 
designation for places dispensing medical marijuana.

While the 45-day ordinance bans the collective during the interim 
period, it will allow the council to make an informed decision and 
hold public hearings to give citizens a chance to offer input, Stoufer said.

We're not here to discuss use of marijuana or where marijuana goes, 
just the business license, said Mayor Gary Strack.

Ken and Kathy Prather, who applied for a business license for Tehama 
Herbal Collective Aug. 6, asked why the city was denying the license.

Municipalities don't dictate the laws (regarding marijuana), Ken Prather said.

Prather said he doesn't see why the city is denying a business 
license since he is zoned correctly and the company has security 
measures in place. A collective is allowed anywhere a pharmacy is, he said.

I'd think you would embrace us, Prather said.

We're trying to bring a business here. There are 3,600 patients in 
Tehama County who drive to Ukiah and other places.

Those who drive elsewhere are taking their money to other cities and 
not just what is spent on medical marijuana, but in things like food 
and gas, he said.

Becky Brudin, of Corning, has had a recommendation for medical 
marijuana for 10 years and said she takes her money and goes to Berkeley.

This is ridiculous taking so much money that could be used for good, 
Brudin said.

We all live here, but to get what I need I have to leave town.

Brudin asked the council to give the Prathers a license saying it 
would be a help to those with recommendations who don't know how to 
or can't grow plants for themselves.

You think we're lowlifes, but it's not that way, Brudin said. We're 
all a part of and help this community.

Jeff Fletcher, with Tehama Herbal Collective, spoke to the fact that 
a collective would be a safe place for patients to get their medical marijuana.

We're in our legal zone and to not grant the license is unacceptable, 
Fletcher said.

Rich Morrison of Cottonwood came to lend his support, saying medical 
marijuana was a county-wide issue.

This is an opportunity to educate, Morrison said. It's cut and dried 
and it's been decided. It's going to be here whether you like it or not.

These people have a right to conduct business.

Morrison suggested that the council look at Councilwoman Becky Hill's 
suggestion to give the Prathers a 45-day temporary business license.

Hill said this would give the council a chance to see how the 
business operates and what effects it has on the community, but it 
was defeated when the motion did not receive a second.

Prather said he has retained Redding Attorney Alan Berg, who had 
advised him to conduct business with or without the license as doing 
so is legal under California law.

We're in somewhat of a catch- 22, Strack said, referring to the fact 
that by California laws medical marijuana is legal while under 
federal law it is illegal.

My thought on this is asking 45 days to get it right when you compare 
it to 1996 (when it became legal in California) isn't that much.

Strack asked city staff to move as quickly as possible to resolve the 
issue said a joint meeting should be scheduled with the planning 
commission to discuss the zoning aspect of the issue.

I haven't made any final decision, Turner said. I'm not taking any 
position, although I'm probably not in favor of it. I will evaluate 
it in the 45 days based on the evidence presented.

Hill said she is looking at the issue from a legal zoning point of 
view rather than a personal one.

I personally am against (medical marijuana), Hill said. A lot of 
people call me a prude and I call myself a prude.

Hill also said she knows people who use medical marijuana for the 
right reasons, but can't leave town and therefore resort to getting 
it illegally.

I like that it's going to be regulated and that it's going to be 
taxed, Hill said.

Hill said she doesn't just represent herself and would love to hear 
feedback from residents. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake