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Should Lathrop go to pot for medicinal use?
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LATHROP – Lathrop city officials are hoping second time’s the charm to bring in the citizens and let their thoughts and feelings known as to whether a medical marijuana dispensary should be allowed to open next door to their homes.

On Wednesday, Oct. 12, starting at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 390 Towne Centre Drive, the Planning Commission will hold another general discussion on the subject of a medical marijuana dispensary opening its doors in the city.

Community Development Director Glenn Gebhardt, who is also the Planning Commission’s secretary, said the meeting is to inform the public about the issue and to gather input from residents as to whether they feel such a business would be “good or bad for the city.” The community discussion is part of the research that the Planning Department is doing “to better decide what we would recommend” to the commissioners when the business application for a medical marijuana dispensary that has been filed with the city comes before them for consideration, Gebhardt said.

The last time a similar informational meeting about the issue was held at City Hall, only one resident showed up – former Council member Steve Dresser. Gebhardt said they hope to get more participation from residents on Wednesday. It will be a discussion about the ongoing debate as to whether a medical marijuana dispensary in the city is “a good or a bad thing,” he said.

Prompting the public discussion on the matter is an application request that the Community Development Department received recently from Medizen Cooperative to open a medical marijuana cooperative (dispensary) in the city.

However, “the existing Zoning Code does not include or list this use, so the request cannot be approved as submitted unless enabling Municipal Code Amendments are approved,” according to the city staff’s report to the Planning Commission.

Medizen Cooperative is   proposing that amendments be made to the City Municipal Code that would allow the opening of the dispensary, establish a regulation vehicle and a Special Tax Ordinance for that type of business in town. Those proposed amendments though will come before the Planning commission for consideration at another meeting in the future.

Three months ago, the Lathrop City Council held a public study session on medical marijuana. At that June 27 meeting, city staff gave an informational PowerPoint presentation on the subject followed by a discussion with members of the community as well as individuals and groups interested in operating potential medical marijuana dispensaries within the city.

“While the City Council felt they had received testimony and information in support of medical marijuana, the majority of Council members felt that more testimony or information from other viewpoints would be beneficial for city decision makers to consider in order to make educated and informed decisions on this matter when it comes to them,” as well as to better understand “the laws and issues involving medical marijuana in California and how they may relate to the city of Lathrop,” further reads the city staff’s report to the planning commissioners.

The report can be read in its entirety by logging on to the city’s website at