Grego pushes for dispensary ban | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Grego pushes for dispensary ban

Adam Jensen
ajensen@tahoedailytribune.com

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – An attempt to speed up a potential ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in South Lake Tahoe fell flat this week.

During comments at the end of Tuesday’s city council meeting, Councilman Bruce Grego suggested a special meeting should be held within the next 10 days to discuss the possible ban, but did not receive support from any other council member.

Grego said the city has been to slow to address issues related to medical marijuana in the city. He questioned the need for medical marijuana among many of the people who use the dispensaries and said collectives pose a risk to the community.

“This is a greater danger to us than the Angora fire,” Grego said.

City Councilman Bill Crawford said he didn’t have the “vaguest idea” why Grego suggested the special meeting on Tuesday.

He pointed to a committee formed to discuss regulating medical marijuana cultivation, as well as fire inspections of each of the medical marijuana collectives in South Lake Tahoe at the start of the month as evidence that the city has taken issues surrounding medical marijuana seriously.

Councilmembers were also advised by an outside attorney during an Aug. 30 closed session meeting that the safest option, legally, would be to extend the current moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries for another year, Crawford said.

If the city moves forward with a ban, it’s possible it could be financially responsible for business investments made by the owners of the dispensaries because the collectives have been issued business licenses,Crawford said.

Grego’s call for the special meeting came at the end of a meeting when about a dozen people spoke in opposition to medical marijuana dispensaries.

Most of the speakers said they supported giving seriously ill patients access to medical marijuana, but expressed concerns about the abuse of California’s medical marijuana laws and the effect on the community.

City Attorney Patrick Enright has said the city council is likely to resume discussion on the possible ban of medical marijuana dispensaries following the drafting of an ordinance regulating the cultivation of medical marijuana in South Lake Tahoe.

The committee formed to develop language for a cultivation ordinance will meet for the second time at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15 at Lake Tahoe Airport. The committee meetings are open to the public.

• Six applicants for South Lake Tahoe’s open police chief position were interviewed by a series of five panels Monday.

The panels included regional police chiefs, sworn South Lake Tahoe police officers, non-sworn employees at the department, community members, City Manager Tony O’Rourke and Interim Police Chief Martin Hewlett, O’Rourke said Tuesday.

The six applicants will soon be narrowed to three. The three remaining applicants will then be given thorough background checks prior to the selection of a new chief.

A new police chief should be hired by early October, O’Rourke said.

Hewlett has served as police chief since former Police Chief Terry Daniels retired in December.

Almost 70 people applied for the position, O’Rourke said.

• The South Lake Tahoe City Council will not pursue the purchase of the Tahoe Daily Tribune building.

During a Tuesday closed session, the council voted “not to pursue any further property acquisition for a city hall at this time,” wrote City Clerk Susan Alessi in an e-mail.

• California Tahoe Conservancy lawyer Nira Feeley will join the South Lake Tahoe City Attorney’s Department as deputy city attorney no later than Oct. 4, said City Attorney Patrick Enright on Tuesday.

Feeley graduated with an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and attended law school at the University of California, Davis. She was admitted to The State Bar of California in December 2007.

The hiring of a deputy district attorney was part of a re-organization of the department approved by the city council in May.

• The city council amended their 2009/2010 budget by $18,000 to allow the purchase of a new website from Kansas-based CivicPlus. The website is expected to cost $38,047.


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