Redding police Chief Peter Hansen said he’ll notify the city’s 16 medical marijuana dispensaries ahead of an upcoming City Council discussion that could lead to elimination of city permits for the collectives.

A ruling in a recent Southern California lawsuit seems to have found it’s unlawful to permit something that’s illegal under federal law and the council might have to decide whether to keep its current ordinance, change it or drop it, Hansen said.

“The basic message will be there’s a big issue here and you better show up,” Hansen said.

The lawsuit was brought against Long Beach by members of one of that city’s marijuana collectives that had been ordered to shut down.

A county judge ruled in favor of Long Beach and the collective members appealed, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal threw out Long Beach’s ordinance regulating medical marijuana dispensaries last month, saying the city went too far in specifically authorizing marijuana sales, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Long Beach charged an application fee of almost $15,000 and held a lottery for a limited number of permits, according to the lawsuit.

The city also set further requirements for its collectives.

“The question presented by this case is whether the ( Long Beach ) ordinance, which permits and regulates medical marijuana collectives rather than merely decriminalizing specific acts, is pre-empted by federal law,” the court said in its ruling.

“In this case of first impression, we conclude that, to the extent it permits collectives, it is.”

Redding approved regulations for dispensaries in 2009. Under those rules, police grant annual operating permits to collectives, and the police chief may inspect a collective’s books, records, accounts and any other material that would allow authorities to determine whether a cannabis club is distributing medical marijuana to qualified patients.

Redding charges dispensaries a $1,560 application fee and an annual permit fee of $1,474.

“( The lawsuit ) invalidated Long Beach’s ordinance, which is very similar to ours, so we have to talk about that and decide what we want to do,” City Attorney Rick Duvernay said Thursday.

The council discussed the lawsuit in closed session Tuesday but took no reportable action.

Hansen said he hasn’t yet written the letters but will do so soon.

The discussion will likely happen at the council’s next meeting, scheduled for Nov. 15, Assistant City Manager Barry Tippin said.

Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2011 Record Searchlight
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Website: Redding Record Searchlight: Local Redding, California News Delivered Throughout the Day.