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City Adds Medical Pot Restrictions

Citrus Heights increases the distance from schools
by 100 feet and allows just one shop.


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Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Author: David Richie -- Bee Staff Writer
Published: Sunday, May 16, 2004
Copyright: 2004 The Sacramento Bee
Contact: [email protected]

The Citrus Heights City Council last week approved a permanent ordinance on the sale of medical marijuana and took another look at paying the rent for a struggling teen center.

The new ordinance sets tougher restrictions than an urgency regulation adopted last month after Roseville resident Kevin Gill applied for a business license to open a cannabis dispensary on Auburn Boulevard, about 900 feet from Sylvan Middle School.

At an April 14 meeting, staff members recommended prohibiting the sale of medical marijuana within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, libraries and other "sensitive" uses. The council lowered the requirement to 900 feet, noting the urgency ordinance was not on the books when Gill filed for a license.

That action was blasted April 22 by residents at a Planning Commission hearing on the permanent ordinance. Commission members urged the council to adopt a 1,000-foot requirement and also require a special-use permit for dispensaries.

The council heeded the advice Wednesday, adopting both restrictions. In addition, the council voted to let only one medical marijuana shop open in Citrus Heights, fewer than the two allowed in the urgency ordinance.

Gill said Thursday he has 30 days to find another location before the city starts considering other applications for a dispensary permit. He said he was not sure he would pursue a location in Citrus Heights.

"There is every restriction in the world there now," Gill said. "They do not really want anyone doing this in their city."

In other action Wednesday, the council agreed to pay $16,000 to cover the rent from May through August for the TeenSenior Unity Center. But the funds will not be paid until September, and the operator must meet "four rather stringent criteria," Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins said Thursday.

Citrus Heights Teen Unity, which operates the center, has received financial aid from the city for two years. The council has contributed $165,599 from the general fund and $17,797 in community development block grant money since May 2001.

Cathy Capriola, city administrative services director, said Thursday that the council remains firm on not spending any more general fund money on the center after September. A report written by Capriola detailed what Teen Unity must do to get the additional rent assistance:

* Independently raise at least $6,500.

* Develop a 12-member board of directors, including at least four members with professional leadership, management, fund-raising or public relations backgrounds.

* Increase its roster of volunteers to at least 25 and keep the center open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and for at least five hours Saturday.

* Appoint a financial officer-treasurer to handle all financial aspects of the operation.

Teen Unity has struggled during the past year as community members complained about the slow development of the center. Bruins has been one of the most vocal critics on the City Council.

In January, a group of professionals led by Folsom businessman Charles Thompson stepped forward to help the all-volunteer group. While noting that progress has been made, city officials still questioned the center's ability to continue reforms without guidance from Thompson and his steering committee.

"If we thought they would meet these requirements, we would have given them the money up front," Bruins said.

Thompson was more positive Thursday about the teen-senior center's future without his assistance. The steering committee has given Teen Unity the organizational tools it needs, he said.

"Now we are gradually stepping back," Thompson said.

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