Grover guards against pot centers

January 04, 2005

Cynthia Neff, San Luis Obispo Tribune

Grover Beach put a temporary ban on medical marijuana distribution centers Monday, joining two other cities in San Luis Obispo County concerned about the effects such dispensaries would have on their communities.

'We need to be proactive,' said Councilman Dave Ekbom, who is in favor of a total ban of medical marijuana dispensaries.

Because San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande have approved such ordinances, Grover Beach officials are worried that any groups wanting to open a dispensary might target Grover Beach.

'It's precautionary,' said City Attorney Martin Koczanowicz. 'There's a high probability that people interested in this type of business would come to cities that don't have regulations in place.'

Koczanowicz added

Grover Beach put a temporary ban on medical marijuana distribution centers Monday, joining two other cities in San Luis Obispo County concerned about the effects such dispensaries would have on their communities.

'We need to be proactive,' said Councilman Dave Ekbom, who is in favor of a total ban of medical marijuana dispensaries.

Because San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande have approved such ordinances, Grover Beach officials are worried that any groups wanting to open a dispensary might target Grover Beach.

'It's precautionary,' said City Attorney Martin Koczanowicz. 'There's a high probability that people interested in this type of business would come to cities that don't have regulations in place.'

Koczanowicz added that he's not aware of any groups who have indicated they want to open a center in the city.

The moratorium will be effective for 45 days and will come back to the council in February for a possible extension until a Supreme Court ruling is issued. Local officials hope the court will clear up the current conflict between state and federal law over the legality of medical marijuana.

Meanwhile, staff will evaluate where such centers could be located within the city -- or whether they want to ban them completely.

Federal law prohibits the possession, cultivation and dispensing of marijuana, regardless of purpose. But California voters in 1996 passed an act that protects patients, their primary caregivers and physicians who prescribe marijuana for medical treatment from criminal prosecution.

The current case would decide whether the federal government can prosecute medical marijuana users in the state.

But while local officials hope the high court's decision gives them a clear direction, San Luis Obispo attorney Louis Koory said 'it's not going to happen.'

'It is an important decision, but it's not going to validate or invalidate the state law. We're still going to have a marijuana statute in our state,' he said.

 that he's not aware of any groups who have indicated they want to open a center in the city.

The moratorium will be effective for 45 days and will come back to the council in February for a possible extension until a Supreme Court ruling is issued. Local officials hope the court will clear up the current conflict between state and federal law over the legality of medical marijuana.

Meanwhile, staff will evaluate where such centers could be located within the city -- or whether they want to ban them completely.

Federal law prohibits the possession, cultivation and dispensing of marijuana, regardless of purpose. But California voters in 1996 passed an act that protects patients, their primary caregivers and physicians who prescribe marijuana for medical treatment from criminal prosecution.

The current case would decide whether the federal government can prosecute medical marijuana users in the state.

But while local officials hope the high court's decision gives them a clear direction, San Luis Obispo attorney Louis Koory said 'it's not going to happen.'

'It is an important decision, but it's not going to validate or invalidate the state law. We're still going to have a marijuana statute in our state,' he said.



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