Pubdate: Thu, 22 Dec 2011 Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA) Copyright: 2011 Record Searchlight Contact: http://www.redding.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/360 CITY FOLLOWS SENSIBLE PATH ON COLLECTIVES What a difference the city limits can make. Last month the Redding City Council - after granting wide rein and official Police Department blessing to its medical marijuana collectives since 2009 - abruptly ordered them to shut down in response to a Southern California Court of Appeal ruling that found city licensing schemes in fatal conflict with federal law. Just up the road in the city of Shasta Lake, on the other hand, the City Council reacted to the latest legal twist Tuesday night not by rushing to shutter collectives, a move suggested by City Councilwoman Dolores Lucero, but by declaring them welcome local businesses that serve a real need for patients. The council voted 4-1 to take a new stab at writing a zoning ordinance, this one in compliance with the law, at least as it stands this week. The fine distinction the city is trying to draw is one the Court of Appeal justices suggested in the Pack v. Long Beach ruling: A city cannot explicitly allow marijuana sales - it can't license what the federal government still considers drug dealers - but it can regulate collectives by telling them what they cannot do. Local codes can prohibit serving minors, operating near schools, allowing marijuana use in parking lots, etc. That's not a perfect solution, and Redding officials argued that without licenses - and especially the ability to suspend or revoke them - they wouldn't have strong enough tools to ensure compliance with city standards. One way or another, local ordinances must evolve. Shasta Lake's Development Services Director Carla Thompson said she wouldn't break the law, especially given the recent court ruling and letters from federal prosecutors stating that local licensing ordinances violate the Controlled Substances Act. "I'm the one issuing those licenses," she told the council, "and I don't want to go to prison." Who can blame her? At the same time, Thompson said the city had no reports of law-enforcement calls or nuisance complaints about Shasta Lake's two collectives. They've by all accounts been good neighbors, which surely helps their cause (though it won't make a nickel's worth of difference if and when the U.S. attorney's office calls). Especially in contrast to Redding's abrupt over-reaction, the Shasta Lake City Council's restrained response to the shifting legal winds is fair to patients even as it avoids needless court battles. At least somebody's figured out a way we can live together. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.