Vacaville considers medical marijuana ordinance

Vacaville’s City Council plans to consider a medical marijuana ordinance when it meets Tuesday.

A staff report distributed to councilmembers recommends adoption of a permanent or temporary ban on locating medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits because of concerns about the cost of adequately monitoring such facilities and the likelihood of drug-related criminal activity.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Vacaville City Hall at 650 Merchant St.

Vacaville currently has a temporary ban that is due to expire on May 25.

If councilmembers choose to permit dispensaries in the city, Vacaville would be the only city in Solano County to legally allow them, even though at least 20 facilities are believed to be operating in the county.

A Dixon ordinance that permitted dispensaries was repealed in 2009, according to Vacaville’s local newspaper, The Reporter.

The Benicia City Council approved a ban on dispensaries last month, also on the recommendation of staff, but expects to reconsider the issue later in the year.

Such facilities have reportedly opened in Vallejo, Fairfield and even Vacaville since California voters approved the Compassionate Use Act in 1996.

The state has since approved the Medical Marijuana Program Act that requires counties to issue identification cards that permit holders to possess certain quantities of pot for health reasons.

Solano County’s Department of Public Health issued a total of 59 cards in 2009 and 2010. More than 51,000 cards have been issued statewide.

But possession of any amount of marijuana still is illegal under U.S. law, and the conflict has yet to be resolved by state courts.

“They are illegal under federal law, and the question of whether cities and counties must allow these dispensaries under state law has yet to be decided by a state appellate court,” the staff report says.

To get a marijuana card, qualified county residents should contact the Department of Public Health at 275 Beck Ave. in Fairfield, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. To reach the department by phone, call (707) 784-3111.

via : examiner

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