Norco mulls marijuana dispensary options

April 09, 2007

Laura Rico, Press-Enterprise (CA)

Norco may join cities such as Whittier, Visalia and San Jose in regulating the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries.

Potential regulations or ordinances would be presented to the Planning Commission and City Council in mid-June, according to a report by the community development department.

Collective Solution, a medical marijuana dispensary operating in Norco, was shut down March 1 after a Riverside County Superior Court judge granted the city's injunction against the collective.

The collective's owners have agreed not to take further legal action if the city studies the issue and drafts regulations allowing for the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries, said Jim Daniels, community development director.

The Planning Commission meets tonight at City Hall and will discuss the issue but not make any decision.

"In the next 60 days we're going to give the Planning Commission two courses of action," Daniels said. "Adopt rules and regulations for this type of facility in the city or draft an ordinance prohibiting them."

Collective Solution co-owner Chris Yap, a real estate professional in his 40s, said he is hopeful that the city will consider regulating and licensing the businesses.

"We want to be upstanding, and to do that we need a license and we need to be zoned," he said. "This is something that makes sense and it will be something we can all be proud of, and it will be with the city's permission."

Yap and his partners in Collective Solution held an open house Tuesday evening for city officials and law enforcement officials, who toured the facility and asked questions about the medical marijuana dispensary.

Yap said there are 200,000 medical marijuana patients in the state, including cancer and multiple sclerosis sufferers.

Yap said he assured the officials that patients would be not allowed in the facility without a doctor's recommendation and a valid identification card.

"If a doctor has prescribed this treatment to you, who are we to judge what another human being wants to do as an alternative medication?" Yap said.

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