Del Rey Oaks took a big step toward becoming the county’s first city to allow medical marijuana dispensaries, which are legal in California but have been shut out of local cities through zoning and code enforcement.
City Council voted 4-1 on Tuesday night to approve an ordinance regulating medical cannabis dispensaries, and a final version of the ordinance will come back to City Council for final approval on Nov. 18.
That comes on the heels of an Oct. 8 decision by the city Planning Commission to to approve a use permit for a proposed dispensary, Monterey Bay Alternative Medicine.
Lonna Lewis-Blodgett intends to open a dispensary at 800 Portola Drive, the squat brown building across Canyon Del Rey from the Safeway, which is owned by her husband, Bob Blodgett. The Blodgetts own and manage the Monarch Cove Inn in Capitola.
They plan to hire eight people to staff the dispensary to start, and be open seven days a week. Per the city’s ordinance and the business application, customers won’t be allowed to consume pot on the premises, or within 200 yards; they’ll have to take it home.
The ordinance is modeled on one in Santa Rosa, where City Manager Daniel Dawson previously worked as city manager. Among the rules: no pot can be grown on the premises; a security plan and surveillance cameras that will store footage for at least 45 days; and background checks for applicants who want to operate dispensaries.
Like all medical cannabis dispensaires in California, Monterey Bay Alternative Medicine will be a nonprofit, as required by state law.
Don’t confuse the ordinance and forthcoming dispensary with a pro-pot City Council, however. “It is neither the intent nor the effect of this [ordinance] to condone or legitimize the use of cannabis,” the ordinance states.
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