Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Glendale Medical Marijuana Collective News
Delay on pot clinics is on table
Officials will next session weigh the implications of allowing marijuana
dispensaries in city.
By Melanie Hicken
Published: Last Updated Tuesday, September 15, 2009 9:13 PM PDT
CITY HALL — The City Council on Tuesday introduced an ordinance
that, if approved next week, would set a 45-day moratorium on medical
marijuana dispensaries within Glendale.
The move, which was expected, comes as medical marijuana advocates push
for legalization as a solution to California's budget woes while
some cities fight to keep the dispensaries out.
Medical marijuana dispensaries are prohibited under the city's
zoning codes, but city officials proposed the moratorium to completely
close Glendale's borders to the shops until the City Council can
make a decision on how to wade through what is becoming a complicated
legal landscape at the state and federal level.
"We are [introducing] a moratorium tonight to give the City Council
more time to look at the implications of either banning or allowing
medical marijuana dispensaries, " Councilwoman Laura Friedman said.
The moratorium would take effect immediately if it's approved next
week. Under state law, the moratorium can be extended up to two years.
There are no dispensaries within city limits, but city officials said
interest has increased recently. What had been a couple of inquiries a
year has turned into several within the last few months, they said.
The outside interest and evolving legal landscape led officials to
propose the moratorium so they could study the legal issues swirling
around the controversial businesses and bring back recommendations to
A major issue is the conflict between state law, which allows for the
use of small amounts of medically prescribed marijuana, and federal law,
which bans it.
The legal ambiguity has meant complications in court for several
Southland cities that have tried to explicitly ban all medical marijuana
dispensaries outright. The results of those cases will be followed
closely by city attorneys, said City Atty. Scott Howard.
"The good news is Glendale is not at the forefront of this
issue," he said.
Meanwhile, Oakland residents on July 21 voted overwhelmingly to levy an
$18 tax per $1,000 of medical marijuana sold. A week earlier, a Los
Angeles city councilwoman proposed consideration of a similar tax. And a
proposed state ballot measure would move the tax statewide, allowing
those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of pot, although it still
needs more than 430,000 signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
But while some propose the drug as a solution for the state's budget
crisis, others argue legalized marijuana causes a laundry list of other
In cities where dispensaries have been established, law enforcement
agencies have reported increased burglaries, vandalism, illegal drug
sales and other criminal behaviors, according to a report to the
California Chiefs of Police Assn.
Officials have also pointed to Los Angeles, which issued a moratorium on
the dispensaries after they started cropping up illegally.
The dais, absent of Mayor Frank Quintero, was relatively silent on the
issue Tuesday, with Friedman stressing that only the moratorium —
rather than the merits of medical marijuana facilities — was the
issue at hand.
Still, Councilman Ara Najarian called for a report on the potential side
effects of allowing the dispensaries along with the more in-depth report
that returns to the council.
"If you could enlighten us on this sort of behavior, the bad things
that accompany this," he told city officials. "At the root of
this I thinkâ€‚.â€‚.â€‚.â€‚was the intent that
marijuana is a drug, that it can be helpful to certain kinds of
illnesses, sometimes fatal illnesses. But I think it's spun out of
Dispensary owner Randy Llamas spoke out at the meeting against the
moratorium, as well as any potential ban of the establishments.
Llamas, who owns an east Los Angeles dispensary called the Holistic
Co-Op, said he has made repeated inquires for zoning permits in the past
three years for opening a similar shop in Glendale, and had grown tired
of the vague responses from the city.
"I think you guys should go by what California said for
guidelinesâ€‚.â€‚.â€‚.â€‚and go about it by what
California has voted for the patients who really need it," he said.
â€‚MELANIE HICKEN covers City Hall. She may be reached at (818)
637-3235 or by e-mail at melanie.hicken@ latimes.com.
http://www.glendale newspress. com/articles/ 2009/09/15/ politics/ gnp-mariju\