Medical pot ordinance recommended to Nevada City council | TheUnion.com

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Medical pot ordinance recommended to Nevada City council

Nevada City planning commissioners voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to recommend the city council adopt the Other Medical Cannabis Businesses Ordinance, with only slight modifications.

The commission hosted both a public workshop and hearing on the topic, and scheduled an open comment period. Dozens of community members provided input at both events and submitted comments to the commissioners.

The ordinance, if approved by city council, would allow for "the establishment, permitting, and regulation of medical cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distributing, transporting, and testing laboratory businesses within the city."

Some members of the public brought up concerns for public safety, which they feared might be compromised as a result of medical cannabis industry businesses operating in the city.

Fears about the possible adverse health risks of cannabis use, increased potential of access by children and degradation of the city's aesthetics were all cited at the public hearing.

The commissioners, however, didn't agree that those fears would become reality under the proposed ordinance.

Concerns heard at the hearing were "more focused on the general use of recreational marijuana," said Commissioner Josie Andrews. The ordinance, she said, "is not providing individuals with access (to recreational marijuana). This is providing several types of medical services."

Some advocates for the ordinance were concerned about language that forbids the use of "volatile solvents" in the cannabis manufacturing process. The use of ethanol as a solvent, some said, is a common method of extraction that provides a high quality medicine. Forbidding its use would decrease the availability of quality medicine from a local source for those that need it. They also argued that ethanol is permitted for use by other businesses, such as ones that make extracts from herbs other than marijuana.

The commissioners agreed to remove the language forbidding the use of volatile solvents, beyond the regulations laid out by the state, from the ordinance.

City council members will receive copies of the updated and amended ordinance and will schedule a first reading at an upcoming meeting.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email mpera@theunion.com or call 530-477-4231.