Colusa moves toward total pot shop ban
The Colusa City Council this week moved closer to making sure a medical marijuana dispensary will never open its doors in town.
The council voted unanimously Tuesday night to extend the ban on dispensaries to another full year.
“The moratorium is needed in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare, and provide staff an opportunity to study how to best address the potential imminent threats to public safety, health and welfare resulting from medical marijuana dispensaries,” the urgency ordinance states.
The ordinance goes into effect immediately.
This is the last extension on the temporary ban, which was originally established on Feb. 15 for 45 days.
The council extended it another 10 months and 15 days on March 15.
Now the ban has been extend 12 more months.
If the city wants to extend the ban after that, it will need a permanent ordinance to spell out the restrictions.
Williams approved its own ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries in the spring.
In addition to the public health and safety issues raised in the urgency ordinance, City Attorney Krysten Hicks indicated that the federal government has raised the stakes in the fight as well.
“There have been some significant steps ... in the enforcement of the federal law,” Hicks said.
In short, the federal drug enforcement agencies are using bigger hammers against cities and counties these days.
Even in pot-friendly areas such as Mendocino, the federal crackdown has been felt.
And local law enforcement is on the side of the federal government.
Both city police chiefs and the county sheriff have made it clear they oppose allowing collectives and dispensaries in the cities, or anywhere else for that matter.
They point to reports by the California Chiefs of Police Association that indicated cities that have allowed dispensaries to open have had an increase in crime, such as burglaries, robberies and sales of illegal drugs in areas immediately surrounding such shops.
California voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 1996, but the act did not require local governments to provide for marijuana stores.
Moreover, the courts have largely muddied the waters about what cities and counties can and cannot do with regard to medical marijuana cultivation, as well as the establishment of dispensaries and collectives.
All along, the federal government has loomed out there with its laws that does not recognize any use of marijuana as legal.
An initiative that would have legalized all marijuana use went down to defeat during the November election.