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In the wake of Prop 19’s election day failure, Sacramento is preparing to address medicinal marijuana in the city.

Special Projects Manager, Michelle Heppner prepared this report that will be reviewed by City Council.

Medical marijuana is a statewide issue, and there has not been a consistent response. The City has a moratorium in place prohibiting new medical marijuana dispensaries from opening and bans existing dispensaries from expanding. The moratorium is set to expire on July 13, 2011.

The City Council has determined that it supports medical marijuana dispensaries in the City, but zoning code does not recognize or currently allow them to operate within the City.

On July 27, 2010, staff presented to the City Council three options to be included in the proposed ordinance to that would work to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.

These options include: compliance with existing law, number of dispensaries allowed and location requirements.

Guidelines have been amended and become more stringent.

On September 30,2010 Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law, Assembly Bill 2650, authored by Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan prohibiting any medical marijuana cooperative or collective to locate within 600 feet of a school.

Council Staff is recommending adjusting the fixed proximity location restrictions from 500 feet from schools, parks, youth-oriented facilities, churches, substance abuse centers, theaters and tobacco shops to 600 feet to be consistent with AB 2650 as it relates to schools. The state bill also requires dispensaries to be 1,000 feet from each other.
Currently there are 39 registered dispensaries in the City and staff estimates 25 dispensaries will complete the permit process within one year.

The State of California does not have specific laws for permitting or licensing medical marijuana dispensing. However the State Attorney General has established guidelines for the industry to follow and staff is recommending that the City require dispensaries to be in compliance with these guidelines.

The cost to fund the proposed positions and corresponding service and supplies is approximately $315,000 annually.

The table below lists proposed fees for Title 5 and Title 17 respectively.

Medical Marijuana Title 5
– Dispensary Permit Application (Phase 1) $5,000
– Dispensary Permit Program (New and Annual) $12,600
– Dispensary Permit Program Appeal $400
– Fingerprint Fees $84

Zoning Title 17
Permit Fee $19,415
Zoning Administrator Fee $13,815
Zoning Administrator Major Modification Fee $3,500

The fee schedule will provide full recovery of program costs. If applicants fail to complete a phase of the process the application ceases to move forward.

Further guidelines, restrictions and penalties for violating this ordinance are within the council report.