Pubdate: Wed, 03 Aug 2011 Source: Hanford Sentinel, The (CA) Copyright: 2011 Lee Newspapers Contact: http://www.hanfordsentinel.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2338 Author: Seth Nidever COUNTY OKS 45-DAY BAN ON POT SHOPS 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 overblown. "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 so." - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.