Turlock to mull rules for pot

June 01, 2005

John Holland, Modesto Bee

The city Planning Commission tonight is scheduled to consider condominium, motel and hospital projects, along with possible rules for dispensing medicinal marijuana.

Michael Cooke, city planning manager, said no one has proposed opening a Turlock outlet for marijuana under the provisions of Proposition 215, approved by the state's voters in 1996. It legalized marijuana for medicinal use, with a prescription.

The legality of such shops is up in the air, pending a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on whether the federal ban on marijuana negates the state initiative.

Still, Cooke wrote in a memo to the Planning Commission, the city should be ready in case a dispensary is proposed. Among the options are a moratorium, such as Modesto's, pending the Supreme Court ruling, or an outright ban. The city also could allow a dispensary under rules governing location, hours, security and other issues.

'Based on the experience of other cities, it would be important to regulate dispensaries,' Cooke wrote. He noted that Police Chief Lonald Lott had raised concern about crime resulting from the operations.

The commission will consider recommendations to the City Council, although no vote is expected tonight.

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