Pot dispensary ban extended

June 28, 2006

Nisha Gutierrez, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

In an effort to allow time for inconsistencies between state and federal laws to be reconciled, the City Council has extend a moratorium for a year on medical marijuana dispensaries.

City Attorney Clarke Moseley said the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 is at the root of the city's decision to extend the moratorium, which will begin Saturday.

"What we have known is there is a big disagreement between the federal and state governments over Proposition 215 and that's one reason for us to extend the moratorium," Moseley told the council Tuesday.

Proposition 215 was approved by California voters a decade ago and allows marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes. Referring to a decision made last year by the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Raich, city officials said state laws allowing distribution of marijuana for medical reasons do not shield users or distributors from possible criminal prosecution under federal narcotics laws.

The city, which does not have any pot dispensaries, first approved an urgency ordinance last July and August.

City officials said more reasons for the urgency ordinance include allowing time for the city to study the impact medical marijuana dispensaries could have on public health, safety and welfare in the community. David Sommers, spokesman for county Supervisor Don Knabe, said areas like Hacienda Heights, which has a medical marijuana dispensary, can face obstacles.

"Part of the challenge since these dispensaries have become part of our community is that there are a small minority of people that abuse what the dispensaries are all about," Sommers said. "The fact that within the dispensaries there are large amounts of cash and marijuana that's something thieves would want to have."

nisha.gutierrez@sgvn.com

(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2109



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