Pubdate: Fri, 18 Feb 2011
Source: Colusa County Sun-Herald (CA)
Copyright: 2011 Freedom Communications
Author: Susan Meeker, Colusa County Sun-Herald
Cited: Colusa City
Cited: Colusa County
Bookmark: (California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - U.S.)


Colusa officials have temporarily banned marijuana dispensaries from 
opening anywhere in the city.

The Colusa City Council decided Tuesday to wait until its staff can 
study any possible threat to public safety before it considers the 
often controversial business.

The council also wants to wait until the Planing Commission completes 
a new zoning ordinance that complies with the 2005 general plan.

A planning committee has worked several months on new zoning policies 
and intends to address medical marijuana dispensaries in the new 
ordinance, city officials said.

City Manager Jan McClintock said there has been some interest by 
marijuana providers in opening a dispensary, but allowing one now 
could create conflict with the city's long-term planning goals.

"Because state law prohibits a dispensary from opening within 600 
feet of a school, it would have to be located on Market Street, Main 
Street or Bridge Street," McClintock said.

Krysten Hicks, city attorney, said the moratorium will be effective 
45-days, but that the City Council can extend the moratorium up to two years.

Councilwoman Donna Critchfield said there was no need for a medical 
marijuana dispensary in Colusa, as people "prescribed" marijuana by a 
doctor could easily obtain marijuana at the local pharmacies.

That, however, is incorrect.

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug by the federal 
government, and cannot legally be prescribed by a physician nor 
dispensed by a pharmacy.

However, physicians can recommend the use of medical marijuana for 
their patients, and those that have received a written recommendation 
can legally use marijuana in accordance with state law.

City officials said Tuesday that while medical marijuana may comply 
with state law, it violates federal law, which continues to prohibit 
the cultivation, use, purchase and sale of marijuana for any purpose.

Because it violates federal law, most providers don't pay federal or 
state sales taxes, something the state Board of Equalization is 
trying to work out, McClintock said.

"The city would probably see very little benefit from sales taxes," 
she said. A two-year ban, should the City Council extend the 
ordinance that long, may allow time for some resolution between the 
federal and state governments on the use and sale of marijuana, 
McClintock said.

Until then, the city will remain cautious, the council decided.

Colusa County officials also passed a moratorium on medical marijuana 
dispensaries in their jurisdiction, as did Williams in April.

Courts have repeatedly upheld the right of cities to prohibit 
dispensaries in their towns, Williams attorney Ann Siprelle said Wednesday.  
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