Marijuana facility given two years to close

May 04, 2006

Mike Sprague, Whittier Daily News

The Planning Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to require a medical marijuana dispensary to close within two years from when an ordinance is adopted to regulate such establishments.

The Whittier Collective, 12450-A Washington Blvd., opened in September 2005 before the City Council had adopted an ordinance regulating such businesses.

The dispensary can't be forced to move or close immediately because it was in existence before the city's medical marijuana law was approved in January, said Jeff Collier, director of community development.

It is across the street from the Tri-Cities Regional Occupation Program and thus in an area where it would not be allowed under the ordinance.

Deputy City Attorney Krista MacNevin Jee had proposed giving the Whittier Collective a year from Feb. 9 to continue operating and allow for a one-year extension.

But the commission decided that time frame was too short.

"We're calling it a year, but in fact it's not," said Commissioner Marcia Scully. "If we're going to call it a year, it should be a year from when the ordinance was passed."

The proposed ordinance isn't expected to go to the City Council until June or July.

The proposal would give any dispensaries that aren't in a legal area a year from when the ordinance becomes law and allow for a one-year extension.

The law also prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from entering a marijuana dispensary. It also limits hours of operation from 6 a.m. to 10p.m., and requires the facilities to provide security guards.

The Whittier Collective would have 90 days after the passage of the ordinance to meet those standards under the proposed new law.

Medical marijuana dispensaries have been legal under state law since 1996 when California voters passed Proposition 215 which allows marijuana to be used for medical purposes.

However under federal law, marijuana is illegal to possess and use.



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