Town council extends medical pot ban
The Truckee Town Council extended its temporary ban on medical marijuana shops, but will gauge the public’s opinion on the issue before making a final decision on regulations or a permanent prohibition. The ban was extended to 10 and a half months by a unanimous vote of the council. The vote on a public workshop process, however, was split, with Mayor Craig Threshie voting against taking the medical marijuana issue any further. “I don’t think that I am going to get to the point where I support it without the law supporting it and without the detail of the law,” Threshie said at the meeting.The council was put in a unique position – attempting to develop guidelines for medical marijuana establishments that are vaguely legal under state law, but clearly illegal under federal law.A U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this month reaffirmed the ability of federal law enforcement to prosecute medical marijuana cases despite state statutes that allow for regulated use of the substance. The town could see federal raids against a medical marijuana shop that is established in Truckee, but could be sued by a prospective medical marijuana shop owner if the town bans the use, according to town planners.”We truly are between a rock and a hard place here,” said councilwoman Beth Ingalls.Truckee officials will now set up workshops to hear from citizens, school and hospital officials, and business owners. How many workshops are held will depend on interest within town, which so far has been tepid, said Tony Lashbrook, Truckee town manager.”So far there hasn’t been that much public interest in this issue, but that could change,” Lashbrook said. Going to the public before deciding on a prohibition or set of regulations was supported by councilman Richard Anderson.”My preference is to start at square one and get input on what the community wants … and then craft [an ordinance] from there,” Anderson said.Richard Anderson”The issue really is how do people that need the substance get it, but also how do we ensure that those that don’t need it don’t get it.” Beth Ingalls”It’s not who’s a smoker and who’s not a smoker, it’s a civil rights issue to me, and it is a state’s rights issue at the very least.”Josh Susman”People are dealing with a lot of pain and discomfort and if this is something that can solve that and be managed to the satisfaction of the community and us here on the dais, then I am for that.”Craig Threshie”Right now I don’t have a need to move forward with this process, because I think it is going to take some time for the law to be defined accurately enough for me to be comfortable with some kind of a storefront in Truckee to dispense [medical marijuana].” Barbara Green”I have a great deal of sympathy for people who need some kind of relief [from pain] and so I am willing to proceed through this process to explore the ramifications and at the end of the day we may end up banning [medical marijuana dispensaries] altogether, but the door is open and I am willing to walk through it.”
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