Concord keeps options open for medical marijuana clubs
September 05, 2005
Kellie Applen, Mercury NewsThe City Council voted at its meeting Tuesday night to introduce an ordinance that would ban medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. However, the council left open the possibility that it might allow dispensaries on a limited basis.
The council's decision followed more than two hours of public comment in which more than a dozen medical marijuana users spoke out against the ban.
Opponents of the ordinance said it is too expensive, inconvenient and unsafe to travel to dispensaries in Oakland or San Francisco.
City staff had recommended the council adopt the ordinance, which was proposed following a recent Supreme Court opinion stating that federal laws outweigh all other laws, including Proposition 215, which allows for the use of the drug for medical purposes.
Council members said they would like more time to research and analyze the issue, so a motion was made to discuss the city's options in committee and determine whether it is possible to craft an ordinance that would allow for some dispensaries.
Comments from council members clearly illustrated the division over the matter.
"I'm not as educated as I should be on this issue," Councilwoman Helen Allen said prior to the vote. "I've learned something tonight."
But Councilman Mark Peterson had no reservations. "It's against the law. We might not like the law ... but it is against the law."
The council is scheduled to vote on a possible ban at its Sept. 27 meeting, after which the ordinance would take effect in 30 days. Concord's only cannabis club, Maricare, would be temporarily exempt until a final ordinance is approved.