Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ordinance Committee offers thoughts on pot shops


After recently imposing a temporary moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries in Santa Barbara, city leaders sat down to hash out the details of a permanent ordinance that will regulate the local pot shop industry.
Members of the City Council’s Ordinance Committee looked over a draft version of the legislation and offered up their thoughts before sending it on to the Planning Commission for further revision.

“I felt that it was a good starting point,” said Councilmember Iya Falcone, chair of the Ordinance Committee. “There are certainly provisions that need to be adapted to Santa Barbara. It was clear that some of those provisions had been lifted from larger cities.”
The draft version proposes limiting the dispensaries to commercial zones that already allow pharmacies while prohibiting them from operating along lower State Street — Cabrillo Boulevard to Arrellaga Street — as well as within 500 feet of residential zones, schools, parks and other dispensaries.
“The general feeling was nobody is trying to close them down completely,” Councilmember Brian Barnwell said. “We just need to regulate them.”
He said the committee took issue with a few portions of the proposed ordinance, such as one section that discouraged daily and weekly purchasing and encouraged monthly purchasing to slow down foot traffic. That weighs heavily against those with lower income levels, he said, who can’t afford to purchase enough medical marijuana for a month in one visit.
The Ordinance Committee also wavered on requiring the front door of dispensaries remain locked at all times, even during operating hours.
“We kind of nixed that idea,” Barnwell said. “Police are worried about theft, but that exists anywhere. You go into a jewelry store and there are things in there more valuable than marijuana.”
However, they agreed that limiting business hours and prohibiting on-site prescription and consumption is a good idea.
“We’re really trying to make sure that all the issues people have raised are being addressed and covered,” Councilmember Grant House said. “…What we’re trying to do now is really scope it out and have people really answer those questions.”
After the ordinance visits the Planning Commission for further revision and public input, it will return to the Ordinance Committee for tinkering before being put to a vote by the entire City Council.
“I think it’s going to be kind of a breeze actually,” Barnwell said. “I’d be surprised if there are any hitches in the gitalong.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hash out the details


he he he