Medi-pot shop moratorium set for extension |

Medi-pot shop moratorium set for extension

As ballot initiatives and lawsuits threaten to uproot California’s marijuana-law landscape in the near future, Grass Valley’s leaders may just watch from the sidelines.

A proposed ordinance on today’s City Council agenda would extend the city’s moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries one year if accepted. A year’s moratorium approved last year is set to lapse on April 27.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. at City Hall on 125 E. Main Street.

Delay on the decision is in deference to a number of pending statewide actions related to the drug, said City Administrator Dan Holler.

“It seems premature for us to make a decision on medical marijuana dispensaries with these issues still out there,” Holler said, adding any council decision to allow dispensaries may take until November to put into place. “We’ll wait to find out what the voters want to do. We don’t want to do something twice.”

Proponents launched a ballot initiative late last year to legalize marijuana use for all Californians older than 21. The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 could find its way to November’s ballot if the state determines the 700,000 signatures in its favor are valid. Initiatives need just 433,971 valid signatures to qualify as a ballot initiative for a statewide vote.

The state is expected to announce whether enough valid signatures were collected by March. It is the most successful of a handful of such potential initiatives.

If passed, the initiative would allow cities and counties to permit marijuana to be grown and sold and to tax it.

“Developing an ordinance and regulating a dispensary is a huge burden on city staff time and could all change if one or all of the ballot measures is approved,” Police Chief John Foster wrote in his report recommending the moratorium be extended.

A lawsuit challenging the city of Anaheim’s ability to ban medical marijuana dispensaries is also a cause to extend the moratorium,

Foster’s report said. The outcome of that decision could change the way cities may regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.

To contact Staff Writer Kyle Magin, e-mail or call (530) 477-4239.

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