Medical marijuana: Nevada City to consider moratorium in dispensaries

David Mirhadi
Sun News Service

NEVADA CITY, Calif. and#8212; The Nevada City Council will consider extending a moratorium on the opening of medical marijuana dispensaries in town, but the mayor believes the city might not need the full 10 months before crafting an ordinance allowing such shops.

and#8220;I think we can fashion a workable ordinance in a shorter period of time,and#8221; Mayor Barbara Coffman said Monday.

The meeting is at 6:30 tonight at Nevada City Hall.

In May, Nevada City City Council members unanimously passed a 45-day emergency ordinance barring the dispensaries from opening in town so they could research the issue.

The 45-day moratorium was passed just after Grass Valley passed a similar measure. The Grass Valley City Council followed up the emergency ordinance with a vote earlier this month to extend the moratorium a full 10 months and 15 days, the maximum amount of time allowed by law to keep such an ordinance in place under terms of Proposition 215.

Prop. 215 was ratified by voters in 1996.

It allows caregivers and medical providers to sell marijuana for medical treatment to people with a doctor’s recommendation.

While it is legal in California for those with a prescription, the use or possession of marijuana is a crime under federal law.

While members of the Nevada City City Council have previously said they were not opposed to opening a medical marijuana dispensary in town, they did express a preference for crafting an ordinance tailored for the city’s use.

and#8220;I think (city management) will have to provide more information as to how this could be harmful for our town,and#8221; Coffman said. and#8220;I’m going to listen to what’s being provided to us.and#8221;

Nevada City resident Harry Bennett applied in April for a business license to open a marijuana dispensary. He has indicated he’d like to open a store on Uren Street.

Bennett did not return a call for comment Monday afternoon.

The nearest medical marijuana dispensary operates in Colfax, and the city has received few complaints since it opened about five years ago.

Grass Valley Mayor Lisa Swarthout said the moratorium that was extended in Grass Valley was done to give law enforcement time to put together an ordinance.

Coffman on Monday said the Nevada City City Council is not explicitly opposed to the opening of a medical marijuana dispensary, a sentiment shared by other members of the council when the issue was first discussed by members at a meeting in May.

and#8220;I don’t think the council would support a total ban on these,and#8221; she said.

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