Monday, August 17, 2009
Napa Could Prohibit Medical Marijuana at City Council Meeting
Napa could prohibit pot dispensary
Growing demand for medical pot stores concerns police
Monday, August 17, 2009
By KERANA TODOROV, Register Staff Writer
The Napa City Council on Tuesday may consider a temporary ban on the
establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries in town.
The City Council will consider the ban as city officials have received
several queries this year from people wanting to open medical marijuana
stores locally. City staff will recommend supporting the ordinance, Napa
City Manager Mike Parness said. The ordinance, which could be introduced
Tuesday, would expire on Oct. 4, 2011.
The city has no specific ordinance or standards for such stores, Parness
said. State law allows for the use of medicinal marijuana, but federal
law does not.
In his report to the City Council, Peter Spoerl, deputy city attorney
for the city of Napa, said that the Napa Police Department recommends
the proposed ordinance in order to protect the public.
Napa Police Cmdr. Jeff Troendly said one concern is that patrons of
medical marijuana dispensaries may be assaulted and owners robbed as
stores are predominantly cash businesses. Another concern is that
underage teens may access marijuana from adults who redistribute the
drug, he said.
State law, he said, does not take into account how marijuana is being
Vice Mayor Juliana Inman said she first wants to know more about what
other cities have done before making a decision.
City Councilman Peter Mott said he has an employee who takes medicinal
marijuana because she has cancer. While Mott understands its benefits as
a drug, he also wonders about the impact of such stores on the
community. He also questions how the drug is currently distributed.
"We're going to look at the bigger picture," he said.
A suite on the 600 block of Soscol Avenue is a medical marijuana
dispensary, according to a man who opened the door of the office suite
at the two-level office building. The store has attracted the attention
of city officials.
Kim Pelham of American Canyon on Aug. 4 submitted a zoning clearance for
the dispensary, according to her letter to the city of Napa. In a brief
phone conversation Friday, Pelham said she did not want publicity. She
also said she could not talk because she was driving.
The medical marijuana dispensary needs zoning clearance in order to have
a business license, according to the city.
Napa Development Director Tambri Heyden said Pelham's request is
under review. Earlier in the week, Parness said the store does not have
a business license.
Pelham tried to open a similar business in American Canyon earlier this
year. Her request prompted the American Canyon City Council to place a
temporary ban on the establishment of medical marijuana stores there.
The City Council soon after passed an ordinance prohibiting any use
illegal under either state or federal law.
Emmanuel Donval, a Napa Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission member,
said he has approached city officials regarding opening a medical
marijuana dispensary in Napa, similar to a healing center he knows in
Sebastopol called Peace in Medicine.
Donval, who has a prescription for medical marijuana, said he will take
his request to the Napa City Council. The dispensary, he said, would be
a center where medical marijuana users could be educated on the use of
the drug. All profits, he said, would sponsor local organizations, city
events and marijuana users support groups. The center would also offer
free yoga classes, acupuncture and counseling sessions, he said.
"I want it to be something different than the traditional pot
club," he said.
So far, 85 California cities have adopted ordinances that prohibit
medical marijuana altogether, according to Spoerl's report.
If you go
• What: Napa City Council
• When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
• Where: City Council Chambers, 955 School St.
http://www.napavall eyregister. com/articles/ 2009/08/17/ news/local/ doc4a88\
Another Note - A copy of the Napa city council meeting agenda for August
18, 2009 is posted
at http://napacity. granicus. com/AgendaViewer .php?view_ id=2&event_ id=33
The proposed medical marijuana ordinance is item 16(A) on the agenda -
16. PUBLIC HEARINGS/APPEALS For public hearing items, applicants
appellants) will be allowed 10 minutes to present testimony at the
of the public hearing, and will be allowed 5 minutes to present rebuttal
the end of the public hearing. All other members of the public will be
limited to 5 minutes each, in compliance with the city's rules of order
A. Ordinance prohibiting the establishment and operation of
marijuana dispensaries: Approve the first reading and introduction of
ordinance adding a new Chapter 5.82 to Title 5 of the Napa Municipal
prohibiting the establishment, maintenance and operation of medical
A copy of the city report (210 pages) is posted at
http://napacity. granicus. com/MetaViewer. php?view_ id=2&event_ id=33&meta_ i\