New medical marijuana dispensaries te...

New medical marijuana dispensaries temporarily banned in Vallejo after city vote

Posted in the Martinez Forum


Vallejo, CA

#1 Apr 25, 2013
New medical marijuana dispensaries temporarily banned in Vallejo after city vote

The years-long swirl of uncertainty surrounding the legality of medical marijuana dispensaries in Vallejo came to a head Tuesday night with the institution of a 45-day moratorium on new applicants.

The move, passed with the minimum-needed 6-0 vote of the Vallejo City Council, is largely symbolic. Dispensaries have been operating within Vallejo for years without the city's permission, blessing or tax certificates. Voters overwhelmingly approved a 10 percent marijuana sale tax only a year ago.

Vallejo ceased accepting business license tax certificate applications in January of this year, and City Manager Dan Keen said the city also could have worked on regulations without a moratorium.

Councilman Hermie Sunga asked why the city is accepting business tax certificate applications in the first place, referring to Vallejo's stance that the operation of any business not listed in its zoning code is "illegal."

"That's part of the source of the confusion," City Attorney Claudia Quintana responded. "That is, yes it's true that the city could just deny the applications outright,-.and yet we have this tax that the voters have approved.

"So, we're sort of trying to give effect to two kinds of warring policy directions here. And hence the need for a moratorium, to sort of put a stop to everything, so we can come up with something that tries to reconcile those two policy directions."

Planning Director Andrea Ouse told the council the moratorium likely will need to be extended six months, as city staff members draw up several scenarios - including regulation, limitation or outright banning of all dispensaries for council consideration.

Mayor Osby Davis, who has favored closing all dispensaries over a proposed moratorium in past discussions, was not at Tuesday's meeting. He earlier told the Times-Herald that he was on vacation.

Tuesday night's moratorium approval thus required all six remaining members. Sunga agreed only after Councilwoman Marti Brown offered a wording change directing officials to explore an outright ban on all dispensaries.

A state Supreme Court case decision expected by the end of next month may clarify whether California municipalities may ban dispensaries.

By approving the new dispensary "pause" Tuesday, the council initiated a finite time period in which the city must move forward to either regulate or ban dispensaries before the flood gates reopen. The moratorium can be extended for up to two years.

Keen said he hopes the council acts before the moratorium expires.

"I think this is a situation that cries out for some reasonable regulation," Keen said. "Thirty establishments in the city of Vallejo ... in my opinion, is too many."

Though 30 different entities have obtained Vallejo business tax certificates since April 2012, city and the Times-Herald research shows a much smaller number of dispensaries - as few as a third - are actively operational.

One such operator, Eric Thomas of Perfect Plans Patients Group on Broadway, shared his concerns Wednesday about the "big explosion" of new dispensaries citywide, and near his dispensary in particular.

"We're a community that can work together, but we need help from the city," Thomas said. "The moratorium isn't such a bad idea now."

Neighboring dispensary operator and relative Vallejo newcomer Sean Dwyer, of California Herbal Relief Center, also spoke in favor of the moratorium at Tuesday's meeting. He said Vallejo must identify and rid the city of the troublemakers. He said by phone Wednesday that he moved his dispensary from Fresno in September because Vallejo is among the very last California cities without some sort of ban, regulation or fee.
Martijuana Brownie

Vallejo, CA

#2 Apr 25, 2013
"Councilwoman Marti Brown offered a wording change directing officials to explore an outright ban on all dispensaries."
Son NOW Brown wants to consider an outright ban like every other city in our county. Wasn't but about a year ago she voted to let them stay open. Wonder what changed her mind, what about all the dopers that vote for her?
white ike

Vallejo, CA

#3 Apr 25, 2013
how about put the question on the ballot in november?
Now Dig This Baby

Vallejo, CA

#4 Apr 27, 2013
“Other cities have been pretty successful at banning these. Vallejo attracts them.”-City Manager Dan Keen.
Look for a resolution to ban up first.
lets vote again

Vallejo, CA

#5 Apr 30, 2013
i bet there will be another 80% victory margin and VPD will have to eat their shoe.

Vallejo, CA

#6 May 31, 2013
Bloomberg: Medical marijuana a 'hoax'

Mayor Bloomberg called medical marijuana a scam on his WOR radio show on Friday. In a discussion of efforts to legalize it across the country, Bloomberg said, "There's no medical. This is one of the great hoaxes of all time." He went on to make another eyebrow raising statement about how legalizing marijuana will cause other problems. "Drug dealers have families to feed," Bloomberg said. "If they can't sell marijuana, they'll sell something else."

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