Pubdate: Wed, 25 Aug 2010
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2010 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Nancy Pasternack


Wheatland's zoning laws have to play catch-up with legislation
regarding medical marijuana dispensaries, city officials said Tuesday
when explaining the need for an interim ordinance.

The historic burg of 3,000 is the latest municipality among dozens in
the state that have sought to severely restrict or ban medical
marijuana dispensaries from operating within its limits.

The Wheatland City Council voted 4-0 in favor of instituting a 45-day
temporary law, which went into effect immediately, and which prohibits
the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries during that time.

"This gives us a breath and allows us to step back," said Tim Raney,
the city's community development director.

A more permanent measure is expected to get a public hearing within
the month and go before the council for a vote afterward.

"We have a blank spot in the ordinance," said Councilman David Coe of
the city's zoning rules, which predate California Proposition 215,
otherwise known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. The voter
initiative, which went into effect in November of that year, allows
patients with a valid doctor's recommendation, to possess and
cultivate marijuana for personal medical use.

Cities, including Marysville, have argued that the law does not offer
clear direction regarding medical marijuana dispensaries.

"I don't know why we need a special ordinance for this drug," Benjamin
Bartholomew told the council Tuesday.

Bartholomew writes for his parents' community newsletter, the
Wheatland Citizen.

"We have a dozen-plus alcohol dispensaries. Most of our problems are
alcohol-related and not pot-related, seems to me," he said.

"There are differences," countered Mayor Enita Elphick. "Alcohol is
not illegal federally or in the state."

Wheatland now has 30 days to hold a public hearing regarding a
permanent ordinance to forbid operation of any medical marijuana
dispensary within its boundaries. 
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