City studying marijuana dispensary ban

June 08, 2007

Nisha Gutierrez, [iaWhittier Daily News (CA)

BALDWIN PARK - The City Council is taking steps to consider placing a temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, officials said.

City staff this week provided the council with a report about issues related to the dispensaries and urged council members to consider a moratorium at the next council meeting June 20.

"Some cities and counties that have medical marijuana dispensaries have seen an increase in crime and negative effects on quality-of-life issues," said Baldwin Park police Chief Edward Lopez. "It's something to consider."

Several other San Gabriel Valley cities, including El Monte, Industry and Pomona, have adopted moratoriums on medical marijuana dispensaries.

Other cities such as Pasadena and Monterey Park have approved ordinances regulating the dispensaries.

Councilman David Olivas said a temporary ban is needed to keep potential dispensaries from moving into Baldwin Park.

"A lot of cities now have ordinances in place banning medical marijuana facilities, and if we don't want to be the place were they come to, we need a moratorium to at least find out what other options there are and what is going on with the disagreements between state and federal laws," Olivas said.

In 1996 California voters approved Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, which has allowed people with a doctor's approval to possess and cultivate marijuana for medicinal use.

It is still banned by federal law.

Councilman Ricardo Pacheco said the moratorium is a good idea to stay one step ahead.

"Some police reports show that in cities that have these facilities drug-related crimes sometimes follow and create a climate for drug users to come in and use the facility," Pacheco said. "Doing this is a pre-emptive attempt to make sure they don't try to come to our city."

nisha.gutierrez@sgvn.com



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