City to review marijuana delivery service |

City to review marijuana delivery service

Adam Jensen

The city attorney’s office will review the legality of a marijuana delivery service proposed to the South Lake Tahoe City Council on Nov. 17, City Attorney Patrick Enright said.

South Shore resident Brian Spencer has submitted an application to operate the delivery service and the city attorney said Wednesday that he will review the application. Enright said he hopes to reach a decision about the legal status of the operation early next week.

Spencer’s High Sierra Med’s will be considered legal if it follows the requirements of California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996, medical marijuana guidelines issued by California Attorney General Edmund Brown Jr. in August and South Lake Tahoe’s moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries, Enright said.

The City Council passed the moratorium at the Nov. 17 meeting.

Among the more than half dozen requirements for existing medical marijuana dispensaries to continue operating under a “established operations” exemption in the moratorium was a stipulation that they be in operation prior to Nov. 1.

On Wednesday, Enright said he “wasn’t sure” whether the moratorium would cover Spencer’s delivery service.

“We’re looking at his application,” Enright said. “Sometime next week we’ll have a determination.”

At the Nov. 17 meeting, Spencer unsuccessfully lobbied the City Council for an extension to the Nov. 1 deadline so he could qualify for an exemption, but said on Wednesday that his service is legal under the city’s moratorium because he will operate as a “primary caregiver” rather than a a “storefront dispensary.”

A primary caregiver “is a person who is designated by a qualified patient and has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of the patient,” said Brown in the August medical marijuana guidelines. “A person may serve as primary caregiver to more than one patient, provided that the patients and caregiver all reside in the same city or county,” Brown continued.

Although someone providing medical marijuana is serving a health need for a patient, “someone who merely maintains a source of marijuana does not automatically become the party who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that purchaser,” according to the guidelines.

In addition to his contention that the marijuana delivery service is legal under city code, Spencer has also maintained the operation is legal under California law.

Spencer’s High Sierra Med’s will also pick up pharmaceutical prescriptions and “do a little shopping” for patients, Spencer said.

Spencer, a medical marijuana patient who said he suffers from nerve damage in his face and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from a 2003 assault that left him hospitalized for three days, said he started the operation to help South Shore residents in need.

“I am a disabled person operating a business for disabled persons,” Spencer said. “I want people to know that I’m doing this to help the community.”

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