Wednesday, April 8, 2009
EUREKA PUTS OFF MEDICAL MARIJUANA ORDINANCE
Eureka will not be following in Arcata's medical marijuana footsteps
The Eureka City County Tuesday night voted three to one not to look
into the possibility of creating a medical marijuana dispensary ordinance.
In the absence of Councilman Jones, Mayor Virginia Bass was the
deciding vote against the measure, saying that the issue needed to be
discussed at a later time.
Bass's comments about the abuse of medical marijuana and the need to
address the issue of illegal grow houses echoed those of
Councilmembers Frank Jager and Jeff Leonard.
"I would say that the first thing we need to work on is these grow
houses and work on it right away, and put a stop to that before we
have a discussion about medical marijuana," Jager said.
Councilwoman Linda Atkins, who initiated the discussion about the
ordinance, said the matter is a compassion issue as well as a fiscal
issue. She said she just wanted to direct staff to look into the
possibility of coming up with a responsible form of regulation.
"The only way we're going to stop people from growing marijuana in
houses illegally is to enforce a code," she said.
Representatives from established medical marijuana cooperatives in
Arcata came forward to offer their assistance in creating an ordinance.
The council did approve of a motion by Councilman Larry Glass to
expand the duties of an already existing task force to look at how to
address the problem of grow houses in residential areas, separate
from regulating medical marijuana.
The council also unanimously supported the planning commission's
decision to deny the proposal for a general plan amendment of
property on Dolbeer Street.
Applicant John Vitale, who had applied to have the zone changed to be
appropriate for medical services, asked the council to allow him to
meet with the residents and create mitigation measures, but the
council felt the concerns of residents in the area were valid.
Nearly a dozen residents spoke out against the zoning change, citing
traffic concerns. Many questioned the necessity of having additional
property for medical services while there is presently other property
already zoned as such that is unused.
The council encouraged Vitale to come up with concrete mitigation
methods if he chooses to propose the amendment again.
In other matters, the council approved a Safe Route to Schools grant
application, accepted $1 million in stimulus funding for street
improvements and approved the designation of a lot on California and
15th streets as a community garden and orchard while authorizing
staff to apply for a grant and also communicate with the groups that
also occupy the lot.