Category: Medical Marijuana
| Posted on Thu, August, 4th 2011 by THCFinder
Advocates are calling the repeal of Chico’s medical marijuana ordinance a "major setback," but city officials say it was necessary after local police refused to enforce it and federal prosecutors threatened to press charges.
After much discussion, the Chico City Council voted 4 to 3 to repeal the medical marijuana ordinance just weeks after the ordinance passed by the same margin. Vice Mayor Jim Walker, who changed his vote from last month, says he felt bullied by federal prosecutors.
"I knew going in that we would have to make changes, wasn't sure what those changes would be. I knew that we would we would have to make amendments somehow," Walker said.
Those changes came in the form of an outright repeal of the medical marijuana ordinance the Chico City Council had been fine tuning for nearly three years.
The move came less than a month the council approved the ordinance despite a letter from the U.S. Attorney who warned the ordinance violated federal law. Council members say after reading the letter and talking with the U.S. Attorney, they felt it was best to take a step back.
"It was very clearly said what you are doing is illegal and we will prosecute, and I think they are looking for a place to make a case,” Walker said.
Proponents of the ordinance say they are disappointed that the council let themselves be bullied by the federal government, but say they accept the decision.
"If they reiterate a threat, it's going to scare people. Obviously it scared our city and that's understandable. I'm scared of the federal government and the district attorney. They have power I don't," Dylan Tellesen of the Citizen Collective said.
Even though the ordinance was repealed, both sides say they will continue working toward a plan that can satisfy local, state and federal law enforcement.
"We just need to step back, reconsider it but I'd really like to move forward with the intent of Prop 215 in the future," Walker said.
"Every time a challenge comes up, it's an opportunity for more clarity. Time to come back and represent the facts, get everyone in a comfortable place," Tellesen said.
There is word that council members are discussing plans to tweak the ordinance.
The city attorney is also researching the law and will present her findings in six months.