Ceres bans marijuana dispensaries

March 12, 2007

Michelle Hatfield, Modesto Bee

CERES — With little fanfare, the City Council unanimously voted Monday night to ban groups from dispensing medical marijuana in the city.

Taking a cue from Modesto, city staff recommended modifi-cations to a current ordinance toprohibit the sale of cannabis to people with chronic pain or illness. Ceres does not have any such outlets.

The California Compassionate Use Act, passed by voters in 1996, allows the possession of mari-juana for medical purposes, but federal law does not. Federal law trumps state law.

The updated ordinance would not prohibit qualified patients or their caregiversfrom cultivation,distribution or use ofmedicalmarijuana.

The only discussion Monday came from Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini, who asked for a copy of the updated ordinance.DeMartinirepresents Ceres as well as the west side of Stanislaus County on the Board of Supervisors.

After the meeting, DeMartini said he wanted county attorneys to check the ordinance's legal-ity. County supervisors might also address medical marijuana dispensaries in the near future, he said.

Modesto closed a loophole in its ordinance banning the facilities in October. Riverbank also took up the issue at its Monday night meeting.

Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at mhatfield@modbee.com or 578-2339.

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