Pubdate: Tue, 22 Dec 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat


Marysville City Council members are now catching a little grief from 
people on both sides of the medicinal marijuana issues for seemingly 
passing, on first reading, two separate ordinances that seem contradictory.

The thing is, we're not so sure they are contradictory. They might, 
both together, bring about tighter control of medicinal marijuana 
production and distribution.

The Marysville City Council is simultaneously considering:

Tightening cultivation regulations. At the meeting last week, members 
voted on a new ordinance to ban it altogether in city limits (but for 
one exception - that dispensary operators could grow indoors). The 
ban is based on the ordinance instituted some time back in Live Oak, 
which has been tested and upheld in courts.

Loosening rules for dispensaries by increasing the possible locations 
where they could be. The proposal they approved on first reading 
would allow up to two dispensaries inside of the city limits. 
Dispensaries would require conditional use permits - each would be 
reviewed by the planning commission and council.

The current dispensary ordinance is so restrictive as to make 
locating one in city limits essentially impossible.

With the new ordinance, a dispensary could be in the Medical Arts 
District. Why there? We're not sure. Outside of that area it's also 
possible a dispensary could be sited, but it would have to not be 
near a school or day care or within 500 feet of a residential area, 
park, library or recreational area.

Dispensary owners would be required to provide security, obey 
operation hours and ban minors.

And here's a biggie: They would be required to provide annual funding 
for the full cost of a city police officer. We're not sure, but that 
would mean a dispensary would have around a hundred-grand item 
topping the expense column. But, hey, it seems there's still 
interest, and the city would stand to take in some substantial 
revenue for legalizing what's going on somewhere, somehow, anyway.

It's a pot issue, so there was bound to be some contention. Sure 
enough, the audience in attendance (which included pros and cons 
living in and outside the city limits - many rural county residents 
feel the city ordinance will have ripple effects countywide) seemed 
evenly divided. Marijuana proponents and opponents each won one and 
lost one, it was said.

Again, we're not sure about that. It sort of seems people who want 
more control over marijuana use got a solid victory.

The council was split on the issues, too. Both votes were 3-2 with 
Mayor Ricky Samayoa and council members Bill Simmons and Chris Pedigo 
voting in favor of both and Dale Whitmore and Jim Kitchen opposing both.

Whitmore explained later he voted against the dispensary ordinance 
because he doesn't want them in town - he's afraid it allows the 
camel into the tent. And he voted against the ban because the 
ordinance contains that exception for dispensaries - he'd have made 
it a total ban. He also feared allowing dispensaries in town could 
entice more users to come to town.

Those who protest the allowance for dispensaries see it as giving in 
to the pot proponents, and all of that goes with that.

Regardless, there was a feeling, evidently, the city might as well 
try to get out in front of the issue. Simmons, a fairly conservative 
council member, argued the ordinance is sufficiently stringent it 
"doesn't open the door to anybody who wants to come in."

The state will be taking over much of the control and regulation of 
medicinal growing and dispensing. But communities are still able to 
decide at what levels the activities are allowed in their borders. At 
least, that's the current take on the situation.

And this has only to do with medical-use marijuana. Who knows what 
communities will face in the coming year or two with the possibility 
of legalization of recreational use of marijuana?

Marysville bans the ability for people to personally grow their own 
marijuana, as it makes it possible to have regulated dispensing of 
marijuana. We're not so sure that isn't the right combination. Time will tell.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom