Susanville bans medical marijuana distributors

July 25, 2005

Kelly Reed, Lassen County News

The city council unanimously approved a measure to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in Susanville at its meeting on Wednesday, July 20. Multiple reasons were cited for the ban, which was introduced at the last meeting, including concerns about 'the potential impacts to the public health, safety and welfare of our community.' Local attorney David Williams spoke out against the ordinance, citing the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which made it legal for Californians who qualify to use medical marijuana. 'The city would not, in my opinion, be allowed to refuse to issue a business license, which is mandated and allowed under California state law,' he said. He added the ban would force those with serious injuries or illness to travel great distances to obtain the drug. Advocate Tim Ziegler also voiced his displeasure, saying he represented 42 medical marijuana users in the county ranging in age from 30 to 74 who were concerned the ban would make their activities illegal. 'We're sick people. I represent sick people, and we feel that we're being punished,' he said. 'These people are scared.' Mayor Pro Tem Rocky Joy said he had great compassion for those who had to use medical marijuana, but he also had great concern for the community, citing a list of problems caused by marijuana dispensaries provided by police chiefs in other cities. City attorney Kathleen Lazard brought up the recent Supreme Court ruling, which gave the federal government the right to prosecute people who use homegrown marijuana, despite individual state laws. The ordinance would not affect the Compassionate Use Act, she added, it would just prohibit dispensaries in the city limits.

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