Lafayette considers pot-shop zone
LAFAYETTE - A proposed zoning rule up for discussion could force two medical marijuana dispensaries in Lafayette to move.
The Lafayette City Council tonight is slated to discuss a plan to draw a 1,000-foot buffer zone around schools, hospitals and other medical marijuana centers; a 500-foot buffer zone around residential areas and day-care centers; and to exclude dispensaries from major highway corridors. Lafayette currently has a moratorium on medical marijuana businesses, but two started before the moratorium was enacted.
"It's a brand-new land use, so you need to determine where, in which zoning districts, you want these businesses to occur," said Phillip Patterson, Lafayette's community development director. "Council decided they didn't want to prohibit these businesses, they wanted to regulate them, so they directed staff to start drafting rules and regulations."
Proposed zoning rules would create about 78 acres in Lafayette open to medical marijuana dispensaries, based on a staff report that's up for discussion. Commercial zoning areas along South Boulder Road between South Public Road and U.S. Highway 287 most likely would be where they could locate, Patterson said.
Sales tax revenue from the two current dispensaries is not being released by the city, Patterson said. So far, he said he has seen one e-mail in support of the proposed ordinance.
In the Boulder Valley, Louisville and Boulder currently allow dispensaries, while Superior, Erie and Broomfield have banned them. The Longmont City Council is discussing a ban on the businesses.
The issue must be decided by June after Colorado legislators passed a law last year that allows cities to outlaw or regulate medical marijuana dispensaries. Colorado voters approved a medical marijuana amendment in 2000. Approximately 100,000 applications have been received by the state since a medical marijuana registry opened in June 2001.
San Jose to start taxing 'illegal' pot clubs
San Jose still considers all of the city's 100 or so medical marijuana shops to be unlawful nuisances, but officials will welcome the pot providers to City Hall on Monday to talk about a new program of great interest to the broke city: a marijuana tax.
Starting Tuesday, San Jose will slap a 7 percent tax on marijuana dispensaries under a measure voters overwhelmingly approved in November.
The city -- which has emerged as a key battleground in the state's "green wars" over medical marijuana regulation -- isn't the only cash-strapped municipality with growing interest in getting a cut of the action.
Oakland and Berkeley raised their marijuana taxes in November. And state authorities last week made clear marijuana isn't exempt as medicine from sales taxes and demanded $6.4 million from a Berkeley dispensary.
San Jose officials argue that the tax man must be paid regardless of a business's legal status. And though most local dispensaries already are paying city business and California sales taxes, city officials feel they're not getting their fair share.
"We believe we're being grossly underpaid," Deputy City Manager Deanna Santana said.
For the city's medicinal marijuana providers, the whole situation seems surreal.
"It's in the code that you have to tax these businesses, but you don't have to -- even when you take their money -- say they're legitimate businesses," said David Hodges, who founded the San Jose Cannabis
Buyers Collective, which relocated after city code enforcers threatened to fine its landlord.
San Jose has seen the number of dispensaries soar from zero to about 100 in the less than two years since Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio suggested the city consider allowing and taxing a limited number of them. Voters, who have seen city services pared to close chronic deficits, approved the Oliverio-sponsored marijuana tax, Measure U, by 78 percent in November.
With San Jose facing a $110 million deficit in a 10th straight year of red ink, city officials are eager to start collecting the new tax even though zoning regulations allowing medical marijuana dispensaries are months from coming to a council vote. The city has invited pot providers to a seminar Monday at City Hall to learn about the new tax.
Many of the city's medical marijuana shops, however, are bristling.
Medical marijuana dispensaries in Loveland must close by today: $85,000 in revenue earned
In November, Loveland voted against allowing medical marijuana dispensaries -- and today's the last day they can legally operate in town. Of the fourteen centers in business late last year, Loveland revenue manager Jim Wedding says seven have already shut down, with the rest presumably following today. How much will this move cost the city?
City of L.A. Receives 229 Applications for Pot Dispensary Lottery
LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- The city of Los Angeles has received 229 applications for its medical marijuana dispensary lottery.
The deadline to submit the eight-page applications was Feb. 18. The city will select 100 dispensaries to receive licenses. It's not clear yet when that lottery will be held.
The lottery marks an attempt by the city to find a way to separate legal dispensaries from illegal ones and reduce the number of dispensaries in the city limits.
The city previously tried to control pot dispensaries via an ordinance that was declared unconstitutional by a judge.
Some dispensary operators are not happy about the lottery, however. They have threatened to sue to challenge the selection process.
Before the lottery is held, the city clerk's office will review the applications to determine if the dispensaries are eligible to participate in the drawing.
Breaking news: Police Raid Medical Marijuana Dispensary
LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas police have raided another medical marijuana dispensary. The raid took place at the Medical Man shop.
Police have arrested two people, including the owner of the business. They say they have also seized a large amount of money, marijuana and hash oil.
The shop is located on Flamingo Road near Durango Drive. The business license is registered under Mark Godines.
Vermont considers medicinal pot dispensaries
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Advocates of medical marijuana dispensaries are telling Vermont lawmakers the facilities are needed to help patients who are legally permitted to use the drug.
Under existing Vermont law, they have no legal way to do so. Larry Phillips, who's 1 of them, says he has to buy pot on the black market and that he's been robbed and threatened in the process.
State Sen. Jeanette White, who's co-sponsoring a bill that would establish dispensaries, says they would keep patients safe. But police and the state Department of Public Safety say dispensaries could lead to increased crime and more people driving under the influence of pot.
WPTZ-TV reports that the dispensaries, licensed by the state, would allow for the legal purchase of marijuana by anyone with a prescription.
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