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Manteca may just say no to legal pot sales

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POSTED April 16, 2010 2:15 a.m.
Manteca leaders are about to make two things clear - there will be absolutely no pot dispensaries allowed in the city and they will restrict the growing of marijuana for personal use to the fullest extent of the law.

The City Council on Tuesday will consider a sweeping ordinance that will just say no to pot dispensaries and impose specific guidelines on those individuals that have legal medical identification cards and primary caregivers on how marijuana may be grown.

The ordinance being pondered on Tuesday when the council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St., will:

• only allow qualified patients, persons with medical identification cards, and primary caregivers to cultivate medical marijuana.

• such marijuana must be cultivated inside a secured, locked and fully enclosed structure that includes solid walls, a ceiling, and roof. No outdoor cultivation will be permitted within the city limits.

• A limit of 12 plants with a maximum of six mature plants will be allowed unless a collective cultivation is allowed under an extensive set of rules outlined in the ordinance including the concern being non-profit and not within 1,000 feet of any residential district, school, recreation center, or youth center.

• Smoking of medical marijuana will not be allowed any place smoking is prohibited by law, in or within 1,000 feet of the grounds of a school, youth center, or recreation center (unless the use is for medical purposes within a residence), on a school bus, or while in a motor vehicle or boat that is being operated.

Proposition 215 passed by California voters in 1996 made it legal for personal use of marijuana for medical reasons. The California Legislature followed that up with a law that gave individual cities the power to decide whether to allow marijuana dispensaries for medical purposes.

In 2004, the Manteca City Council adopted a temporary moratorium on medial marijuana dispensaries within the city limits. The moratorium expired in 2005 without any additional action for a more permanent solution. As late as last year, the council declined requests to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Manteca.

Quick & Easy Cooperative that opened in downtown Manteca on Yosemite Avenue near Library Park did so under the guise of being a retail pharmacy on its business license application. When city leaders discovered it was a medical marijuana dispensary or club, they sought a temporary injunction to shut it down. A hearing on a permanent injunction is pending.

Manteca law enforcement and city attorney moved under a provision of the business license ordinance that prohibits issuing a business license for any activity that is illegal under city, state or federal law. Marijuana use of any type is illegal under federal statutes.
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