Morro OKs drafting of medical marijuana rules

The Morro Bay City Council voted Monday to move ahead with drafting regulations that would allow medical marijuana to be sold in the city.

The council voted 4-1 to form a subcommittee, which would bring an ordinance back to the council in 60 to 90 days. City Attorney Rob Schultz has drafted a preliminary set of rules.

The regulations would allow one or two dispensaries to open in the city where people with prescriptions for medical marijuana from a doctor could get them filled. The council said they wanted to fill a need in the community where people with terminal or serious illnesses could get marijuana to relieve their symptoms.

They also said they want to move ahead cautiously. State law allows the use of medical marijuana but federal law does not.

“We are in muddy waters here,” Councilman Rick Grantham said.

The city has decided to draft regulations now because the Obama administration has announced that it will not raid state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.

Councilwoman Carla Borchard voted against moving ahead with the rules, saying she thinks many Morro Bay residents don’t want a dispensary and one would put the city at odds with federal law.

“I see many red flags here,” she said.

People came from all over the county to praise the council for taking the lead in the issue. Others said a dispensary would bring in unsavory people and give the city a bad reputation.

The city had a medical marijuana dispensary operated by Charles Lynch, who was arrested and prosecuted in federal court. Mayor Janice Peters and Councilwoman Betty Winholtz said that dispensary operated discretely and did not bring a criminal element to the city.