Galt issues 45-day moratorium on medical marijuana

May 17, 2005

Ross Farrow, Lodi News-Sentinel

Although no one has approached Galt about opening a medical marijuana dispensary, the city is taking steps to make sure no one gets any ideas to do so -- at least not for awhile.

The City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to issue a 45-day moratorium on medicinal marijuana while city officials study how sales of the substance would affect Galt.

City Attorney Tom Gibson and Police Chief Doug Matthews said they anticipate medical marijuana providers to consider operating in Galt since neighboring cities like Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, Rocklin, Roseville, Citrus Heights, Woodland and Davis have adopted ordinances banning medical marijuana dispensaries or limited their location.

The city of Lodi does not have an ordinance regulating medical marijuana.

In 1996, voters approved a measure allowing people to use medical marijuana in California, but state legislation allows cities and counties to regulate the distribution of medical marijuana within their communities.

The Galt City Council will have the option to extend the temporary moratorium an additional 10 months and 15 days before the 45-day period expires, Gibson said.

Gibson told the City Council on Tuesday it isn't clear whether a community is required to permit the distribution of medical marijuana somewhere within its boundaries. The city of Fresno has completely banned medical marijuana, but an Oakland-based organization called the Americans for Safe Access has sued the city in an attempt to overturn Fresno's ban.

The U.S. Supreme Court may resolve the issue within the next two months, Gibson said.

Mayor Darryl Clare asked if patients who have the legal authority to consume medicinal marijuana also have the right to grow their own in their backyard.

Matthews said that California laws allows people to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes, but for "personal use" only.

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