Truckee puts medical pot on hold

May 24, 2005

David Bunker, Tahoe Daily Tribune

TRUCKEE - Prospective medical marijuana shop owners and their customers will be waiting to inhale for at least 45 days until leaders here develop zoning regulations for such establishments. Last week, Truckee's council members voted to prohibit medical marijuana shops in town for 45 days. The prohibition, which comes following a string of inquiries about locating a cannabis club in town, will also give residents a chance to voice their opinions on medical marijuana shops in Truckee before a decision is made, said Truckee Town Manager Tony Lashbrook.

'What we are trying to do is call a time-out so we can have a typical Truckee process,' said Lashbrook.

The concern over unregulated marijuana shops is being faced by cities across the state. Medical marijuana shops were not foreseen as a potential commercial use when many city guidelines where finalized.

Now, cities find themselves adopting the moratoriums to prevent 'someone coming in with an application with no rules in place,' said Dennis Crabb, the town of Truckee's attorney .

The council's unanimous vote on the moratorium belied a lengthy discussion that signaled the council members' varied views on medical marijuana issues.

Councilwoman Beth Ingalls said that the temporary moratoriums have often morphed into long-term prohibitions on medical marijuana shops in other cities.

'I'm not comfortable with the trend of what moratoriums are turning into, which is an outright ban without community involvement,' Ingalls said.

But Councilman Richard Anderson said that Truckee must be aware of the problems that have sprung up around marijuana shops in other towns.

'It's a nuisance issue,' said Anderson. 'It's simply prudent to adopt a moratorium for 45 days to give us time to address this as a town.'

A change to the development code to add special regulations for marijuana shops would take more than 45 days, Councilman Josh Susman pointed out. The issue would have to be reviewed by the planning commission, the town council and then become part of the code after a 30-day waiting period.

'This is not a 45-day moratorium, this is at minimum a six month (moratorium),' said Susman.

In the end the council agreed that an in-depth discussion of the other issues surrounding medical marijuana and its place in Truckee would be discussed at a later meeting.

'I can only support the moratorium with the intent that we are not taking a position now,' said Susman.

Town employees will present the town council with proposed amendments to the development code to address medical marijuana shops at a later meeting.


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