Pubdate: Thu, 23 Jun 2011
Source: Acorn, The (Agoura Hills, CA)
Copyright: 2011 J.Bee NP Publishing, Ltd.
Author: Sylvie Belmond


Ordinance revision

The Calabasas Planning Commission said last week it would reinforce
regulations against marijuana dispensaries in an attempt to prevent
lawsuits against the city.

Medical marijuana dispensaries are prohibited in Calabasas. Dispensing
cannabis as a home occupation also is illegal. But criminal charges
that are filed against medical marijuana users run counter to the
California Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which legalized medical pot
sales statewide.

Local governments, however, can still pursue civil cases against
dispensary owners-with less fear of backlash.

A proposed change to the Calabasas pot ordinance will make the selling
of medical marijuana a civil violation rather than a criminal act.

"That way, a court could not invalidate this. It's closing a
loophole," said Holly Whatley, assistant city attorney for the city.

The fight against medical marijuana has been fraught with

In 2007, a court case challenged Anaheim's pot shop ban. A judge ruled
in favor of the Qualified Patients Association, stating that local
governments could not seek misdemeanor charges against people who open
medical marijuana dispensaries in cities where the businesses are outlawed.

"When this item first came to the planning commission, we didn't know
what the impact of medical marijuana dispensaries would be on cities,"
said former planning commissioner Martha Fritz. "Since then, it's been
proven that they can be disruptive."

Revisions to the Calabasascode must be approved by the City Council
before they can take effect.

"It's simply an attempt to strengthen what is already in our code,"
City Planner Tom Bartlett said. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.