Morro Bay council to discuss medical marijuana dispensaries tonight

The Morro Bay City Council tonight will discuss a proposed set of regulations governing medical marijuana dispensaries.

City Attorney Rob Schultz has drafted an ordinance that would allow a single marijuana dispensary in the city under a set of guidelines. The city council will not adopt the new rules at the meeting but may direct staff to formally introduce it at a later date.

The rules would require that the dispensary get a license to operate the facility and pay an annual fee. The permit could be revoked if nuisance problems or other issues arise.

Morro Bay became a focal point of the medical marijuana debate after Charles Lynch was arrested for operating a dispensary in the city. State law allows for the use of medical marijuana but federal law prohibits its use for any purpose.

“Cities in California definitely find themselves at the center of the discussion regarding the compassionate use of marijuana,” Schultz wrote in a report to the council.

In June of last year, Lynch was sentenced to a year in federal prison for selling $2 million in pot from the Morro Bay facility. That conviction has been appealed.

The Obama Administration has announced that it will not raid state licensed medical marijuana dispensaries as was done under the Bush Administration. The proposed regulations attempt to balance the public demand to use marijuana to relieve symptoms of various debilitating illnesses with concerns raised by the community, Schultz said.