Thursday, September 24, 2009

Barstow Extends Medical Marijuana Moratorium

Council extends marijuana moratorium

September 22, 2009 3:11 PM
By JESSICA CEJNAR, staff writer

BARSTOW - Medical marijuana dispensaries will not be allowed within
Barstow city limits for another 10 months and 15 days, due to an
ordinance passed by the City Council on Monday.

Councilmembers voted unanimously to extend a moratorium on medical
marijuana dispensaries after Associate City Planner Michael Massimini
told members that city staff needed more time to wade through the
documentation on the issue. The city is also seeking comments from
doctors and dispensary operators and is waiting on the outcome of a
court case that would determine whether or not a ban on dispensaries is
legal, he said.

At its Aug. 17 meeting, the Council voted to establish a 45-day
moratorium, which was supposed to be used as a fact-finding mission,
analyzing the effects medical marijuana dispensaries would have on the
community. The information would be used to help the Council decide
whether or not it would allow dispensaries within city limits and how to
regulate them.

According to information included with the City Council agenda,
dispensaries are currently prohibited in Hesperia and Apple Valley.
Victorville adopted a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries while
it drafts an ordinance banning them. Dispensaries are also banned in
Anaheim, Claremont, Palmdale, Palm Desert and Sausalito. At Monday's
meeting, City Attorney Yvette Abich-Garcia said a group of medical
marijuana patients and caregivers is challenging Anaheim's ban of
dispensaries in appellate court.

"It makes sense to see how the legal challenge plays out," she

Four people spoke against the 45-day moratorium at the Council's
Aug. 17 meeting, including Newberry Springs resident Buckley Acosta.
Acosta, who uses medical marijuana to treat anxiety and insomnia, said
he didn't speak at the Council meeting Monday because he felt that
the Councilmembers' minds were already made up.

"I understand it's a touchy situation, but it's not like
it's a new issue," he said, referring to Proposition 215, the
Compassionate Use Act of 1996. "I knew what (the Council's)
answer was going to be already."

At the Aug. 17 meeting, Barstow Mayor Joe Gomez said he agreed to meet
with the people who spoke against the moratorium on medical marijuana
dispensaries. But when asked on Monday, Gomez said he hadn't
received any calls requesting a meeting from anyone who spoke.

According to legalmarijuanadispe, the closest walk-in
dispensary to Barstow is in Beaumont, in Riverside County.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4123 or jcejnar@desertdispa

http://www.desertdi news/barstow- 6945-council- extends.html

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