Pubdate: Wed, 03 Aug 2011
Source: Hanford Sentinel, The (CA)
Copyright: 2011 Lee Newspapers
Author: Seth Nidever 


Kings County supervisors voted Tuesday to ban new medical pot shops
for 45 days, setting up a possible showdown with Grey Sky Alternative
Medicine Collective just outside Hanford city limits.

The dispensary is the only one in Kings County. It was cited last year
for operating without a land-use permit. But William Logan, a lawyer
for the collective, made the argument that is was a legitimate
business just like any other and did not need special approval to
operate in the commercial district on East Lacey Boulevard, where it
is located.

County staff sought the 45-day ban to give it more time to craft an
ordinance regulating pot dispensaries, several of which want to locate
here, said Chuck Kinney, a county planner.

Other government agencies have reported safety and crime issues
associated with medical marijuana dispensaries, Kinney said. He did
not name which agencies he was referring to.

The 45-day ban could be extended up to a year if necessary, said
Colleen Carlson, county counsel.

County officials hinted that they might try to pursue an outright
prohibition of pot shops like Grey Sky.

Such a prohibition would be illegal, Logan said.

"It's unpopular here, but on the other hand, it is the law," Logan
said. "We're not against reasonable regulation, but there is no
regulation that says they can be banned."

Two residents of Hanford's El Rancho subdivision, located on East
Lacey Boulevard , spoke against dispensaries at Tuesday's Board of
Supervisors meeting.

"I think it's the wrong thing to convey to our children," said
Michelle Reed. "I don't know how to convey to a third or fourth grader
that it's OK to walk into a store to buy pot. I don't think it's the
right thing to convey to my grandchildren."

Logan said reports of crime and safety issues at medical pot shops are

"There were more banks robbed than dispensaries robbed last year in
Fresno County, and they weren't shutting down the banks, were they?"
Logan said. "You certainly have the right to oppose [dispensaries],
but it is the law. If they were illegal, the courts would have said
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