Pubdate: Wed, 21 Oct 2009
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2009 Record Searchlight
Author: Scott Mobley
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Redding will impose a 45-day moratorium on new medical  marijuana
dispensaries and a host of regulations on  current and future
businesses to halt a "green rush" of  for-profit collectives.

The council voted 3-1 Tuesday evening to adopt the  regulations after
listening to more than an hour of  public testimony and directing
another hour of detailed  questions to Police Chief Peter Hansen, who
would  enforce the new law, and City Attorney Rick Duvernay,  who
drafted the law.

Vice Mayor Patrick Jones cast the lone vote against the  regulations,
arguing that federal law forbids marijuana  possession and the new
rules would put the city in  conflict with those laws. Mayor Rick
Bosetti was  absent.

Redding hosts at least 20 medical marijuana  dispensaries, with some
estimating up to 30. The city  has received dozens of applications for

The new regulations will require all medical marijuana  co-ops and
collectives in the city to get permits to  operate dispensaries
through the police chief.  Dispensaries now in business would also
have to get  permits.

The regulations will require criminal background checks  for
dispensary operators, forbid selling medical  marijuana for profit,
outlaw the consumption and  cultivation of marijuana at the
dispensary, and ban  tattooing and the sale of smoking pipes,
pornography  and other material not related to medical marijuana at
the dispensaries.

The regulations will also set operating hours for  dispensaries and
specify zoning that keeps these  businesses at least 300 feet from
residential areas and  1,000 feet from a school, day care center,
recreation  center, youth center, library or another medical
marijuana cooperative.

Dispensaries would have to renew their permits  annually.

The council heard from nearly two dozen speakers,  including business
owners in Mission Square on Bechelli  Lane. That shopping center alone
is home to four  medical marijuana dispensaries.

Patty Heinz, who owns Image West Framing Design in  Mission Square,
said her business has suffered since a  medical marijuana dispensary
opened next door two  months ago.

"We have a common wall, we smell marijuana every day,"  Heinz said.
"Customers are not happy. There is chaos in  the parking lot, people
hang out and smoke in the  parking lot."

The council added language to the ordinance that would  forbid
dispensaries in any building sharing a wall with  another business.

Tina Hitchcock, another Mission Square business owner,  said the city
is encouraging a drug scene that is  ruining her business.

"I have worked six days a week for 35 years and I am  being taken down
by a bunch of thugs," Hitchcock told  the council.

Other speakers who defended the dispensaries and  decried Hitchcock's
characterization of medical  marijuana users as thugs still supported
the city's  proposed regulations, saying something is needed to  reign
in the "green rush."

"There has been a green rush because of profit," said  Matt Smith of
Redding, who works in drug law  enforcement but said he supports
medical marijuana.  "There are over 20 collectives and only three
McDonald's in Redding. Dispensaries were allowed to  open without
thorough review. We're not here to debate  the use of marijuana, but
how many dispensaries do we  need."

The council also voted 3-1 to direct the Planning  Commission to
review new zoning that would set basic  standards for indoor and
outdoor medical marijuana  cultivation.

Qualified patients and caregivers may possess up to  eight ounces of
dried marijuana and maintain no more  than six mature plants, under
state law. 
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