Council OKs moratorium on medicinal marijuana

August 19, 2006

John V. Ciani, Daily Independent (CA)

The Ridgecrest City Council met Friday and voted 4-0 to adopt an urgency ordinance imposing a 45-day extendable moratorium on the licensing of medicinal-marijuana/cannabis dispensaries in the city.

According to City Manager Harvey Rose, during the moratorium the council will be presented with a regulatory ordinance controlling the location and operation of existing and future dispensaries.

The item arose Wednesday during City Attorney Steve O’Neill’s report to the council regarding the regulation of such dispensaries in the city.

Resident Dorothy Brown urged the council not to do something to eliminate the possibility of competition. She also pointed out that California voted to allow the use of medical marijuana.

“It is my belief that the government of the United States, by making the possession of marijuana illegal, has created the worst kind of monopoly,” she said. “The voters of this state have seen fit, by ballot, to permit this activity.”

California voters passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, in 1996. The act allows physicians to recommend patients for the medical use of marijuana by a patient, and the cultivation, transportation and use of marijuana for medical purposes by patients and caregivers, while exempting them from criminal laws, punishment, or the denial of any rights or privileges in California.

The measure specifies that it is not intended to overrule any law that prohibits the use of marijuana for nonmedical purposes.

In 2004, the California Department of Health Services established the Medical Marijuana Program to facilitate the registration of qualified patients and their caregivers, through a statewide identification system. Kern County’s MMP will be part of this system.

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