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Council talks golf, ganja

Submitted by on 1, March 16, 2010 – 5:50 amNo Comment

The City Council is set to consider a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries as part of its jam-packed agenda tonight.

The Planning Board decided unanimously in January not to recommend the council adopt the ordinance. They said they consider allowing a limited number of dispensaries under controlled conditions.

But city staff is arguing that the ban should go into effect. They’re saying broader regulations have not been established for the dispensaries, which they argue can create law enforcement issues, and they said they can’t find a location in town where the community would allow such a facility to be put in place.

They say the council could adopt the ban; adopt the ban and work on new rules allowing dispensaries; or forgo the ban and work on the ordinance the Planning Board recommended, which they said would have to be completed by November, the latest date the council’s moratorium on the dispensaries can be extended to.

The council adopted the moratorium on the clubs in December 2008 when city officials learned that a dispensary had opened on Webster Street and other would-be operators called to find out how they could set up shop here, too. That dispensary, the Purple Elephant, appears to have closed.

Also on tap for tonight, the council will consider whether to allow city staff to negotiate with Kemper Sports Management for long-term operation of the Chuck Corica Golf Complex. (Full story from two weeks ago here.) The company is slated to give a separate presentation on its plan for the complex, and the council is set to accept a report from proponents of a plan to keep the Mif Albright nine-hole course open under the direction of a nonprofit.

Golfers had asked the council to defer the decision from its originally scheduled March 2 date until tonight, when the Mif presentation would be offered. The council obliged after Vice Mayor Doug deHaan fell ill and was unable to attend the meeting (Mayor Beverly Johnson was also out of town).

Kemper has said it would close the Mif course and place a nine-hole course on the existing Jack Clark course if the company is selected to operate the complex.

Separately, a consultant working for the city has said he believes keeping the Mif open is risky. But consultant David Sams said whatever company is selected to run the golf complex should operate the Mif and that an experienced nonprofit should be chosen to provide programming there.

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