Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Author: Molly Dugan -- Bee Staff Writer
Published: Sunday, June 27, 2004
Copyright: 2004 The Sacramento Bee
Contact: [email protected]
The Rancho Cordova Planning Commission has supported proposed regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries, including restrictions on where they can be located.
If approved by the City Council, the ordinance would limit cannabis clubs to industrial areas at least 1,000 feet from homes, schools, parks and churches. The measure also would limit buyers to 8 ounces and forbid smoking marijuana on the premises.
The Planning Commission voted 5-0 Thursday to support the ordinance, with member Troy Konarski abstaining.
"We've been fighting a negative image," Konarski said. "This is probably a step in the wrong direction."
Other commission members said they voted for the law reluctantly, expressing concern about how cannabis clubs would affect Rancho Cordova's image.
"It's an uncomfortable topic for me," Chairman Art Smith said. "But it does seem to me there are sufficient provisions in the ordinance. They know we're going to be watching what they do."
A state law that took effect in January allows patients to use marijuana for medical reasons with a doctor's prescription. Since then, many local jurisdictions have passed ordinances regulating dispensaries in their communities.
Although no cannabis clubs are operating in Rancho Cordova, the city has received two inquiries about starting dispensaries.
At the commission meeting Thursday, Steve Alvidrez said he was representing a Rancho Cordova resident who is interested in starting a cannabis club in the city.
"It's not something that's going to be a bad spot on the city," Alvidrez said.
Roseville, Auburn, Citrus Heights, Placerville and Elk Grove have approved regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries. The Rocklin City Council recently banned cannabis clubs, a decision that is expected to be tested in court.
"We're not breaking ground here," Rancho Cordova Planning Director Paul Junker said. "We're following a trend that's occurring throughout the region."
Under the proposed ordinance, the Rancho Cordova city manager would approve sites for marijuana dispensaries. Proprietors would have to renew their permits annually.
The police chief, who helped craft the law, would conduct background checks on proprietors. The cannabis clubs would be required to provide their own security.
Despite the restrictions, Matt Cummings, one of only a few residents at the meeting, remained concerned about allowing marijuana sales.
"I have a real problem with having any cannabis dealers in my town," he said. "This is not the image we want. This is not the image we need."
Mason Swarthout, who wants to start a cannabis club in Rancho Cordova, touted the benefits of medical marijuana for people with AIDS, cancer, migraine headaches, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.
"Every day, scientists are finding more medical uses for marijuana," he said.
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