Medical pot dispensary left town, but ordinance talk continues

April 05, 2006

Stephen Curran, San Luis Obispo Tribune

The Atascadero City Council is expected to decide the fate of an ordinance regulating medical marijuana dispensaries next week, two weeks after the city may have lost its only applicant.

Charles Lynch, whose cannabis co-op on El Camino Real prompted the council to call for such a law, received a business license March 29 to move Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers to a new location in Morro Bay. It opened there Saturday.

The ordinance, which received preliminary approval from Atascadero's Planning Commission in early March, is now expected to go before the council Tuesday.

The proposed law would limit the number of dispensaries in the city to one and would ban that business from operating within 1,000 feet of a school, church or park.

Warren Frace, Atascadero's community services director, said he was unaware of any other attempts to open a dispensary in the city.

Placing a law on the books, he said, creates a uniform process city staffers hope will reduce future confusion about the community's formal stance.

"(Without the law) we have a problem trying to regulate it," Frace said. "When and if they show, everybody has a clear understanding."

Compassionate Caregivers opened quietly in an Atascadero strip mall Jan. 9. Two weeks later, the City Council decided to order the business to close while city staff drafted an ordinance. Lynch then sued the city to keep the business open, but he later asked that the suit be dismissed.

Read the ordinance proposed in Atascadero for medical marijuana dispensaries - http://www.sanluisobispo.com/multimedia/sanluisobispo/archive/MarijuanaOrdinance.pdf

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