Auburn Proposes 'Pot Shop' Ordinance

June 12, 2004

Niesha Gates , Sacramento Bee

Auburn officials Monday will consider regulating the location and operations of medical marijuana dispensaries, even though no such 'pot shops' have applied for business permits in the city.

A proposed ordinance modeled after laws adopted in Roseville and Citrus Heights would enable Auburn to have restrictions in place should a marijuana dispensary wish to open in the city.

The ordinance would require background checks of the business applicant and employees and would prohibit a shop from opening within 1,000 feet of schools, homes, churches or sole-source pharmacies, such as methadone clinics, Police Chief Nick Willick said.

The ordinance also would limit business hours, prohibit the growing of marijuana on property adjacent to the business and outline the grounds to deny a permit or file an appeal.

'It's a precautionary step - there isn't a need for it now,' Willick said. 'But we feel that it's our responsibility to try and protect the public's health, safety and welfare.'

The need for such an ordinance stems from a state law that became effective in January, which outlined the dispensing of medicinal marijuana in the state's Health and Safety codes. However, the regulation of sales was left to local jurisdictions.

Placer County Undersheriff Steve D'Arcy characterized Auburn's proposed law as vague, adding that cities drafting ordinances in an attempt to regulate pot shops are in uncharted territory.

'The law is sufficiently murky, certainly on the civil side,' D'Arcy said.

Roseville and Citrus Heights officials unanimously approved similar ordinances last month.

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