Ban Pot Trade Now, Chino PC Says, Before State Usurps Local Control

The City of Chino should join the stampede of cities moving to enact municipal ordinances limiting, prohibiting or outright outlawing the cultivation and sale of marijuana before authority to regulate such activities to the state in two months, members of that city’s planning commission unanimously recommended to the city council last week.
The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, an amalgam of AS 243, AB 266 and SB 643, which passed both houses of the legislature last year, is set to go into effect on March 1.The bills put in place a revamped set of regulations for physicians who recommend or prescribe marijuana for their patients and they lay down licensing requirements for the cultivation, distribution and transportation of medical marijuana, together with safety and testing requirements and protocols for the drug.
The regulations inherent in the bills, including opening the door to marijuana purveyors and producers, i.e., operators of clinics, dispensaries and farms, are not binding on municipalities that have their own prohibitions or licensing and operating protocols in place prior to March 1. But those standards will apply to those cities and jurisdictions that do not have their own ordinances codified by that date.
Anticipating a circumstance in which would-be marijuana operation applicants would be able to set up shop in Chino by meeting the state guidelines, the Chino Planning Commission last week voted 7-0 Monday to recommend that the city council adopt an ordinance to prohibit cultivation, delivery or dispensing of marijuana within the city limits.
Proposition 215, or the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, was enacted, on November 5, 1996 by means of the initiative process, passing with 55.6 percent of the vote statewide. It allows for the use of marijuana for medical purposes, but leaves open to local authorities the question of whether its sale is to be licensed and permitted in individual cities and jurisdictions. Most cities in the state have resisted permitting operations producing the plant or dispensing it.
What the Chino Planning Commission recommended is that the city adopt an ordinance that would amend the city’s zoning code to prohibit marijuana dispensaries or farms and similarly add a provision to its traffic code to prohibit the use of its streets for the delivery of marijuana within the city.
City staff is working on the drafting of such ordinances now so the city council can take them up at its January 5 meeting.
Such ordinances must be voted on twice and be given what is referred to as a first and second reading. Normally the ordinance goes into effect 30 days after the second reading. Thus, Chino is shooting for having the second reading take place on January 19 so the new codes will be in effect by February 18, meeting the March 1 deadline to keep what is anticipated to be the more liberal law that would allow marijuana-related businesses to establish themselves in Chino.
Michael Hitz, Chino’s senior planner, said the new ordinances will not prevent patients with prescriptions who live in Chino from traveling elsewhere to obtain the drug.

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