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City Likely to Just Say No to Pot

Council to rule Tuesday on dispensary ban.

Posted: February 25, 2008 3:46 a.m.
Updated: April 27, 2008 5:03 a.m.

The Santa Monica City Council Tuesday night will consider extending its ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

The pot debate is likely to heat up Tuesday when the Santa Clarita City Council will consider adopting a new ordinance that would ban medical marijuana dispensaries within the city limits.

The proposal comes to the council just weeks before the expiration of a two-year moratorium the city adopted in 2006.

The council had passed the urgency ordinance as a result of the conflict between federal laws that prohibit the manufacturing and possession of marijuana and state laws that provide an exception if the marijuana is used for medical purposes.

The ordinance defines a medical marijuana dispensary as any site or facility that distributes or cultivates marijuana for medical purposes to qualified patients or health-care providers.

According to a city staff report, the conflict between the laws has made it unclear "how the city may regulate such facilities and whether such facilities will exist absent city actions."

The city has therefore recommended upholding federal regulations until the conflict is resolved.

The Santa Clarita Planning Commission approved the ordinance on Jan. 15, and the City Council will now conduct a hearing on the matter to consider public input.

There are no medical marijuana dispensaries set up within the city limits of Santa Clarita, Sgt. Phil Morris of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station's Narcotics Bureau told The Signal in January.

No applications have been filed for a dispensary within the unincorporated areas of the Santa Clarita Valley, Regional Planning Commission Supervising Planner Mitch Glaser said recently.

In other business, the council will consider a proposal to renew a contract with Red Gate Communications to help promote legislation that U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, plans to soon introduce regarding Cemex Inc.'s proposed sand and gravel mine in Soledad Canyon.

Although the city is now in a truce agreement with the global mining company, the city has been fighting plans for the proposed mine since 2001. The goal of the legislation is to develop a solution that would be beneficial for both sides.

The Red Gate Communications contract would allow the firm to promote McKeon's bill in state, national and electronic media and help in securing supporters for the measure. The proposal would extend the existing contract that began in January and ends at the end of February. The extended contract ends June 30 and could add up to as much as $65,000.

The council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the City Council Chambers of City Hall located at 23930 Valencia Blvd.


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