City Council introduces marijuana bill

April 04, 2007

John V. Ciani, Daily Independent (CA)

The Ridgecrest City Council got its first look at an ordinance prohibiting medical-marijuana dispensaries at its meeting Wednesday.

The proposed ordinance makes it clear that no medical-marijuana dispensaries will be established, located or operated within the city, and the proposal disallows the issuance of any building permit, use permit, zoning, clearance or business-tax receipt.

“This ordinance does not and is not intended to contradict the new portions of the [California] Health and Safety Code regarding prescribing medical marijuana,” said City Attorney Keith Lemieux. “It does not prohibit a doctor from prescribing medical marijuana or marijuana-related medicine of some kind to a patient as defined by the Health and Safety Code.”

He said the ordinance does not prevent a primary caregiver from providing marijuana as defined by the code.

“What is does and what it’s intended to do is prevent the establishment of so-called medical-marijuana dispensaries of the kind we recently had open up in the town,” Lemieux added.

Resident Sophia Merk told the council her mother was diagnosed with glaucoma at the age of 50 years but could not get medical marijuana.

“Years later, the Medical Marijuana Compassionate Act was passed,” she said. “I felt the people who needed it would be able to avail themselves to it.”

Merk said the closest place to obtain medical marijuana is Bakersfield.

“There’s no place on the eastern side of the Sierras for people to go, and with gas at $3.25 a gallon and no bus service that makes this run in the service areas, these people have to go to places that have no guarantees that the substance is not laced with something else,” she added.

The proposed ordinance will come back to the council for adoption April 18.

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