Pubdate: Wed, 03 Aug 2011 Source: Union, The (Grass Valley, CA) Copyright: 2011 The Union Contact: http://apps.theunion.com/utils/forms/lettertoeditor/ Website: http://www.theunion.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/957 Author: Adam Jensen, The Union News Service SOUTH LAKE TAHOE COUNCIL CLOSES IN ON POT DISPENSARY ORDINANCE SOUTH LAKE TAHOE -- 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. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.