Pubdate: Fri, 25 Feb 2011
Source: Ventura County Star (CA)
Copyright: 2011 The E.W. Scripps Co.
Author: Joshua Molina
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Extension in Fillmore Buys Time for Study

The city of Fillmore unanimously approved a yearlong extension of a 
moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries Tuesday night.

The vote was 5-0 with no public comment.

The city has had a ban on dispensaries since April 13, after the city 
received several applications to open medicinal marijuana 
dispensaries in the city.

"It is still against federal law," said Fillmore Mayor Gayle 
Washburn. "And we are being advised by the Sheriff's Department that 
it brings a criminal element."

No other city or unincorporated area of the county permits medical 
marijuana dispensaries.

The decision to extend the moratorium gives the city staff time to 
review and examine the pros and cons of allowing medicinal marijuana 
dispensaries, where people with a doctor's recommendation can legally 
purchase small amounts of pot for personal medicinal use.

California cities and counties are struggling with how to get a 
handle on dispensaries.

Advocates say that dispensaries are needed because they allow people 
with medical needs to purchase marijuana in a safe environment. 
Critics contend the dispensaries are fronts for the sale of marijuana 
to people without a legitimate medical problem.

Thousands of dispensaries have popped up in Los Angeles County, which 
has caused problems for law enforcement. Across the state, 200 cities 
have banned dispensaries, while 34 allow them.

Police Chief Tim Hagel said that dispensaries invite crime. Fillmore, 
he said, should not rush into approving dispensaries.

"I feel that all law enforcement, in both Ventura County and across 
the state, while it's certainly an ongoing topic of public debate, 
believes that having marijuana dispensaries has quality-of-life 
consequences for people in a community," Hagel said.

The chief said that nobody is going to debate that a person who has 
cancer and has a legitimate recommendation from a doctor should have 
access to medicinal marijuana.

But dispensaries serve other people.

"You look in Los Angeles and the thousands of dispensaries, and how 
it got out of control," Hagel said. "It was having social 
consequences that far outreached the benefits."
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