Pubdate: Tue, 09 Dec 2014
Source: Daily Pilot (Costa Mesa, CA)
Copyright: 2014 Daily Pilot


The Costa Mesa City Council has postponed its discussion of a new 
report by the police department that urges caution about the 
potential effects of medical marijuana dispensaries returning to the city.

The discussion is now scheduled for 7 p.m. during the council's Dec. 
16 meeting. It was originally set for Tuesday's meeting.

In the report, police contend that dispensaries in Southern 
California "have had a negative impact on the communities where they 
operate," and are associated with "negative consequences for the 
surrounding communities, including robberies and murder."

Police also wrote that "temptations of the profits in the illicit 
market would likely cause some to store marijuana over and above what 
would be a reasonable amount. This, along with large sums of cash at 
the dispensaries, would make them prime targets for burglaries and robberies."

In Costa Mesa's case, police believe the dispensaries could also lead 
to increases in the homeless population, like what has occurred in 
Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal.

The Denver Post reported an apparent uptick in homelessness in 
Colorado, but attributed the change to those drawn to the state who 
couldn't find housing  not necessarily the pot law causing the local 
population to become homeless.

The Costa Mesa council ordered the report last month in response to 
two citizen petitions certified by the county registrar earlier this 
year. Both petitions seek to again permit regulated dispensaries in 
the city, where they have been banned since 2005 but openly operated 
until federal shutdowns in 2012.

The report also had input from city attorneys, firefighters, finance 
officials and others.

In addition to the two citizen petitions, staff examined the effects 
of a marijuana law proposed by Councilman Gary Monahan earlier this 
year and a recently approved one for Santa Ana.

After examining the report, the council could call for a special 
election to take place next spring. Because of election law, however, 
the council could put the two petitions in the November 2016 general 
election ballot because they each contain a tax provision, which must 
coincide with the next council race.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 in City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom