Tracy pot club gets its walking papers

November 22, 2006

Jake Armstrong, Record-Net

TRACY - City officials on Wednesday issued a cannabis club orders to roll up and move out. The Valley Wellness Center Collective, which opened quietly at 130 W. 11th St. about three weeks ago, has until Dec. 5 to vacate its location. City officials also revoked the club's business license and mailed its owner a refund of the business license fee, Assistant City Attorney Bill Sartor said. An unidentified man who answered the club's phone said the owner, Anthony Denner, was unavailable and the club had no comment on the city's order. The city sent a similar notice to the building's owners, Chemanoor and Bernadette Zacariah, to ensure they force the club out of their building by Dec. 5. Denner could face criminal, civil or administrative penalties if he fails to comply with the city's order, Sartor said. The city has no law banning medical marijuana dispensaries, which are allowed in California under Proposition 215. However, since the city's zoning code does not list such businesses as an allowable use, cannabis clubs cannot operate unless the use is added to the code. The club's owner would need to petition the Planning Commission or the City Council to have the use added. 'It's on them to change things,' city spokesman Matt Robinson said. The city did not learn of the club until late last week. In his Oct. 30 application for a business license, Denner described the nature of his business as 'retail sales conducted by a nonprofit corporation.' City officials said that statement did not fully describe the business and revoked and refunded the license as a result. The Valley Wellness Center Collective is the second medical marijuana dispensary forced to close in Tracy. The first, West Valley Resource Co-Op, was shuttered due to similar zoning regulations three days after it opened in May earlier this year. Contact reporter Jake Armstrong at (209) 833-1141 or jarmstrong@recordnet.com

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