Clearlake City Council sitting out medical marijuana debate ... for now

April 24, 2007

Denise Rockenstein, Record-Bee

The Clearlake City Council continues to take a backseat in the state's medical marijuana movement. The council voted, April 12, to extend its moratorium on the issuance of new business licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries within the city, while it waits for decisions to be made at the state level.

The moratorium has been in effect in the City of Clearlake since its original adoption on April 13, 2006. It is now entertaining its third extension.

The Clearlake City Council has been consistent in its refusal to take any action that may lead to regulating the dispense of medical marijuana within the city.

"The state of the law remains unresolved with regard to the legality of medical marijuana," City Attorney Thomas Gibson states in his report to the council. "The issue is the subject of litigation in other parts of the sate, and that litigation is continuing. Until the matter is resolved staff recommends the extension of the moratorium for so long as allowed."

Adoption of the ordinance in April 2006 placed a 45-day moratorium on the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. On May 25, 2006, the council voted to extend the moratorium for an additional 10 months and 15 days in order to "provide additional time for City staff to interpret the law," Gibson states in the report.

The latest action on the moratorium, which passed unanimously, extends the order for an additional year. The only action taken in the matter for the past year was on Aug. 24, 2006 when the council decided to allow for renewal of existing business licenses.

Local business owners who currently provide medical marijuana to prescribed patients in Clearlake have continuously encouraged the city to establish regulations for dispensing of the medicine. Dave McCullick, owner of D&M Compassion Center in Clearlake, was present during the latest discussion and again offered his assistance in setting criteria. "I encourage the council to support and develop regulations that provide safe and legal access to medical cannabis so patients aren't forced to access medicine in illegitimate places," McCullick said.

McCullick continued, "I would like to emphasize my willingness and the willingness of my staff and our collective membership to work with and assist the city and the council in any way we can to develop and implement legislation beneficial not to just the medical marijuana patients, but to the entire community as a whole."

The item was taken up as an urgency ordinance and implementation does not require a second reading. The action by the council extends the moratorium to April 13, 2008.



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