Pubdate: Sun, 30 May 2010
Source: Napa Valley Register (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Lee Enterprises
Author: Kevin Courtney


After nine months of public hearings and staff  analysis, an ordinance
allowing medical marijuana  dispensaries in the city of Napa will come
before the  City Council Tuesday night.

The council will hold a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. at  City Hall on
an ordinance that would set tight rule for  allowing one marijuana
dispensary in the coming year,  with the prospect of a second clinic

Last September, the council unanimously directed staff  to prepare a
medical marijuana ordinance after hearing  testimony from locals who
said cannabis helped them in  ways that regular pharmaceuticals could

Police Chief Rich Melton warned that some cities had  experienced
increased crime around pot clinics. Others  testified that cities with
tight rules, such as  Sebastopol, had suffered no negative impacts.

The smaller Upvalley cities have all rejected pot  clinics, with the
St. Helena City Council killing a  proposal last week after hearing a
last-minute upswell  of public opposition.

In Napa, the prospect of a marijuana dispensary has  generated
relatively little controversy.

All five council members have voiced support for  licensing and
regulating an operator.

Councilmember Mark van Gorder cites the benefits that  he received
from marijuana when he was fighting cancer.  For Councilman Peter
Mott, medical cannabis greatly  alleviated an associate's medical symptoms.

Napa's ordinance would allow operators to apply to  operate a clinic
in office or industrial zones. The  city is setting out many pages of
rules, including  background checks and security provisions, that an
applicant would have to meet.

The ordinance would allow someone with a physician's  recommendation
to grow marijuana at home for medical  use. This provision is part of
state law.

A nonprofit clinic could also arrange for growing to  occur in a
secure warehouse.

If an ordinance is adopted, city staff would sift  through
applications and recommend one operator to the  council for approval.

The city would charge sufficient fees so that  applicants paid all
city costs to develop and implement  the ordinance. 
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