Pubdate: Tue, 02 Aug 2011
Source: Tahoe Daily Tribune (South Lake Tahoe, CA)
Copyright: 2011 Swift Communications
Author: Adam Jensen


SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. -- Whether three medical marijuana
dispensaries should be able to transfer a permit to a new operator
hung up a South Lake Tahoe City Council discussion about proposed
regulation of the dispensaries Tuesday.

Council members agreed to most of a proposed ordinance that would
grant permits to three dispensaries considered "established
operations" by the city if they successfully complete a two phase
application process.

The requirements of the permit include being in compliance with state
law, not causing a public nuisance, allowing yearly inspections,
operating on a not-for-profit basis and providing the city access to
financial records.

But the council could not agree on whether dispensaries should be
limited to the three already in existence or just three in general.

Without allowing some mechanism for transfer of the permits, the city
could unwittingly create a monopoly if two of the dispensaries go out
of business, said Councilwoman Claire Fortier.

But Councilman Bruce Grego said he was concerned allowing the transfer
of a permit could open the door to an unscrupulous dispensary operator.

Irene DiMatteo, a representative of City of Angels 2 Collective, and
Erica Triglia, the head grower at Patient to Patient Collective, both
called a suggestion that a non-transferable permit be tied to a single
individual "ridiculous."

It may be reasonable to require city council approval for any transfer
of a dispensary permit, said Mayor Hal Cole.

Deputy City Attorney Nira Feeley said she expected to present the
council with several options at their Aug. 23 meeting regarding
whether dispensary permit transfer will be allowed and how such a
transfer would take place.

The council was able to iron out a couple of key aspects of the
proposed ordinance during a more than three hour discussion on the
dispensaries Tuesday.

Dispensaries would be required to stay in their current locations, but
would be able to continue growing medical marijuana on-site under the
latest direction given to city staff by the council.

Council members shot down a previous proposal to move the dispensaries
to South Lake Tahoe's industrial area west of the "Y".

Representatives of each of the dispensaries protested the proposed
move Tuesday.

DiMatteo noted the move would put the dispensaries right across the
street from South Tahoe High School, a move she didn't think would be
desirable to anyone.

Council members Tom Davis and Claire Fortier previously supported
requiring the move to the industrial area. Both said they opposed
requiring the dispensaries to move Tuesday, especially given the
proximity to the high school.

The council must approve an ordinance regulating the dispensaries
before a two year emergency moratorium on new medical marijuana
storefronts lapses. The moratorium was enacted Nov. 17, 2009 in order
to give the city more time to determine how to regulate medical
marijuana dispensaries.

The legal landscape over the regulation of medical marijuana
dispensaries remains "relatively undefined" and local jurisdictions
around the have varied widely in how they've regulated the operations,
Feeley said. 
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