New marijuana co-op may need to shut its doors
Supervisors consider ordinance today
Editor's note: The store High Dreams at Highway 190 and Success Drive mentioned in the below article is not a medical marijuana cooperative. That store sells pipes and other products, but not marijuana. The medical marijuana cooperative is called BTBB and is located a little further up Highway 190.
A new medical marijuana cooperative located on Highway 190 may have to shut its doors if Tulare County supervisors approve imposing an interim moratorium on medical marijuana collectives, cooperatives and dispensaries.
The matter is on today’s agenda for the county Board of Supervisors.
A cooperative is a nonprofit establishment that provides medical marijuana to patients with a valid recommendation, as opposed to a for-profit dispensary.
Some members of the new cooperative claim the county’s proposed ban comes as a direct response to the new business.
“There is a large number of medical marijuana patients here in Porterville and they’re just now finding out about this being open and now, the county wants to shut it down,” said Jeff Faure, a Porterville resident and member of the co-op. “Why is this one the catalyst when there are others in Visalia and in Tulare? To me, it’s keeping medicine away from patients.”
Bob Moore, cooperative manager, said the business is in the process of shutting down.
“We were served our papers and as of right now, we are finding a new location,” Moore said, adding that they moved into the new locale with the understanding that the area was zoned commercial. “But Porterville came through and turned 190 into a scenic highway and the man that has owned this property for 30 years was not notified that his zoning changed and he’s up in arms, too...We’re not sure if we’re going to have to move, we are preparing to move and it’s going to be right around the corner,” Moore said.
A report prepared by staff with the county’s Resource Management Agency states the proposed interim zoning ordinance, described as an “urgency measure,” comes in response to recent and pending case law regarding the regulation of the three types of medical marijuana establishments.
More specifically, the county is awaiting decisions on California Supreme Court and Third District Court of Appeal cases, both of which address issues with regard to local government’s ban on such establishments, said Mike Spata, RMA assistant director of planning.
“The county is concerned with potential detriments to public health, safety and welfare caused by medical marijuana collectives, cooperatives and/or dispensaries and the county seeks to protect the public health, safety and welfare by prohibiting, for an interim period of time, any uses that may be in conflict with the county’s contemplated general plan, specific plan or zoning proposal that the county is considering and studying within a reasonable time,” the staff report further states.
The interim ordinance would “allow for the county to research, review, investigate, and develop/create, if applicable, any necessary new or amended policies, ordinances, and processes regarding the establishments,” the report states.
Adoption of the ordinance requires a four-fifths vote from supervisors, and if adopted, will go into effect 45 days later and expire on May 3, unless supervisors decide to extend it.
Spata said that if supervisors adopt the ordinance, the fate of the cooperative depends on its legality.
“To the extent that cooperative is legally in existence, the moratorium would not affect them,” Spata said, noting that the ordinance is prospective and not retroactive in nature.
“Information will be passed along and we will consider them accordingly. I don’t have the facts with regard to that matter and can’t speak as to this specific establishment.”
Contact Denise Madrid at 784-5000, ext. 1047. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseMadrid_.