Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Author: Niesha Gates -- Bee Staff Writer
Published: Sunday, June 13, 2004
Copyright: 2004 The Sacramento Bee
Contact: [email protected]
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.
Roseville's first marijuana store, Capitol Compassionate Care, opened in January, and since then, other groups have shown interest in setting up shop in Roseville.
Citrus Heights' action was prompted by an application to open a medical marijuana dispensary about 900 feet from a middle school.
James Henry, owner of Golden West Patient Care, a cannabis shop that opened in Colfax this spring, said he agrees that marijuana dispensaries should be regulated.
"I think it's a great idea," Henry said. "I think cities should be involved."
Henry said he runs his store by strict guidelines - such as multiple background checks for new patients - and hopes his shop can be a model to others.
"I like that we're able to help patients that are terminally ill or in severe, chronic pain," Henry said. "The little we do is a big deal to them."
Willick said he thinks some Auburn residents will be upset at the thought of a medical marijuana store opening in the city.
"It's allowable," Willick said. "I may personally and professionally disagree, but obviously we have to abide by the law."
Willick will present the ordinance at the City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Monday. The ordinance will be read a second time at a June 28 meeting. If adopted, the ordinance will go into effect 30 days from that date.
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