Pubdate: Tue, 24 Aug 2010
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2010 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Nancy Pasternack, Appeal-Democrat


Wheatland officials have drafted an ordinance that would forbid
medical marijuana dispensary operators to set up shop within that
city's boundaries.

An urgency interim ordinance will go before the City Council

If approved, the temporary ban will, "preserve the status quo within
the city," until a long-term zoning law can be established, according
to the city's staff recommendation.

City Manager Stephen Wright said the impetus for bringing the issue of
medical marijuana to the City Council was an anonymous phone call.

"We had a telephone inquiry two months ago," he said. The caller asked
about any existing restrictions against the establishment of a dispensary.

"There is no regulation at this point," Wright said.

He got busy drafting one.

Unlike a similar ordinance adopted by Marysville in Jan ary -- and
later enacted in a more permanent form -- the proposed Wheatland code
amendment includes no conditional use options.

The Marysville code specifies that dispensaries can be permitted if
the location is not

within 1,000 feet of a school, preschool or licensed child care

500 feet of any residential use, residential area or residential

1,000 feet of a park, library or recreational area commonly used by

250 feet of any adult business that sells or provides drug

Those restrictions effectively prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries
from opening on all but a few isolated lots in Marysville.

Several weeks ago, the City of Marysville filed a lawsuit against
Norcal Health and Wellness Cooperative, a dispensary that opened for
business late last year.

The suit alleges, among other things, that Norcal has never been
issued either a use permit or business license and did not submit
signed consent from the property owner as required. It calls for
permanent closure of the facility and civil penalties in excess of

About 60 supporters of Norcal packed Marys-ville's City Hall on Aug.
17 to speak out against the city's zoning ordinance and the lawsuit.

In addition to prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries from
operating anywhere in Wheatland, that city's proposed temporary
ordinance supports the move by claiming a number of "adverse secondary
effects" associated with medical marijuana dispensaries.

Those, according to the proposed ordinance, include, "loitering,
increased pedestrian and vehicle noise, and impacts on surrounding
property owners."

These represent, "a clear and present danger to the preservation of
the safety, health and welfare of City residents and businesses," the
document goes on to say.

If passed by the City Council, the code amendment will go into effect
immediately, and remain effective for 45 days. 
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