Commission tackles medical pot dispensary ordinance

August 24, 2004

Jim Reece, Amador Ledger Dispatch

The Plymouth Planning Commission readied recommendations on medicinal marijuana zoning law changes Thursday for the Plymouth City Council, although the commission must meet once more to approve its final draft of recommendations. Meanwhile, Mike Koll of Plymouth has purchased two houses and property in Plymouth where he plans to place such a dispensary.

City Planner Eileen Shaw said the commission would meet Sept. 16 to formally approve recommendations for any change to an emergency ordinance passed May 27 regulating establishment and operation of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

“We’re pretty much going to recommend to the council basically what we had,” said Commissioner Mike Montaldo.

He said that Shaw had visited a marijuana dispensary in Colfax and looked at safety issues in studying the matter for the city.

Recommendations, Shaw said, will include safety and security issues she obtained from Amador County Undersheriff Karl Knobelauch and will be standard conditions of approval for anyone who applies for a conditional use permit to operate a medical marijuana dispensary. She said it would include a very specific list of conditions such as lighting, signage and landscaping.

Commissioner Sean McGinnis said the list could include “securing facilities after hours” and emergency buttons in the establishment and on the person of owners which could issue a call signal to the sheriff.

“State law says they can do it. We’re just going over some possible zoning concerns,” McGinnis said.

The emergency ordinance was passed as Koll submitted paperwork in Plymouth attempting to obtain a license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in the city. He has requested or applied for the same such licenses in Ione, Jackson and Plymouth and Amador County.

Shaw said that on Thursday she had given Koll paperwork for applying for a conditional use permit in the city. Koll said he would meet Wednesday with Shaw in her Auburn office to fill out the paperwork.

Koll said he has purchased two houses on Empire Street in Plymouth where he intends to open a medical marijuana dispensary. He said the dispensary would be housed in a bank-style, secure trailer in the back yard.

Koll said the adjoining lots are across Highway 49 from 49er Village and are zoned light-industrial, as required. He said new zoning constraints would limit placement of the facility to be not within 300 feet of residences. But he said even that distance is probably to great to find a place to put his dispensary.

He said Citrus Heights security guidelines would be used to draw up Plymouth’s rules and that they include having a minimum of four employees.

One would be an outside security guard who must be present at all times, one a receptionist and another a dispenser of the marijuana.

“They want the floors wired, the walls wired, a hot button on every person,” Koll said. “But that’s fine, whatever they want.”

Shaw said in an e-mail regarding the proposed zoning changes that a “formal recommendation will be made at the September 16th planning commission meeting. Then it will be forwarded to the council for their consideration to incorporate by reference into the ordinance.”

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