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Planning Board to consider pot club ban

Submitted by on 1, December 14, 2009 – 6:00 am4 Comments

1194984703896920016cannabis_leaf_anonymous_.svg.hiThe Planning Board is set tonight to discuss a proposed ban on medical marijuana dispensaries.

City staff is recommending a permanent ban because they say the dispensaries flout federal law and also, potentially, state law, which they said doesn’t have explicit rules governing them. They also listed concerns about side effects the clubs could pose, saying that such clubs have been hubs for a host of criminal activities.

The proposed ban would replace a temporary ban city leaders enacted in November 2008 and then extended until June 2010, so that staff could come up with rules regulating pot clubs. The temporary ban followed the discovery that the Purple Elephant pot club had opened on Webster Street in July 2008 and calls from other would-be operators seeking to set up shop on the Island.

The city revoked the Purple Elephant’s business license in May because they said the club’s owner, Luke Coleman, failed to accurately state the type of business he operates and to secure necessary zoning approvals before setting up shop.

Proponents of that club had argued that it provided them safe access to the medicine they needed to help them deal with chronic pain and other ailments and that pot sales could provide the city much-needed tax revenue. But opponents said that the club could be a magnet for crime (police hadn’t reported any problems with the club), and they questioned whether the club’s patrons would all be legitimate patients.

If city leaders enact a ban, they would join more than 100 other California cities and counties that have already done so.


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