Dispensaries a go

City Council approves ordinance

The Chico City Council gave final approval of its medical-cannabis ordinance Tuesday (July 5), discounting a U.S. Department of Justice letter warning that such dispensaries are illegal, as well as a similar warning from county District Attorney Mike Ramsey that city staff could be held criminally liable if the measure passed.

Saying that the city had a responsibility to guarantee “safe access” for legitimate medi-pot users, the council voted 4-3 to approve an ordinance that will allow two dispensaries of up to 10,000 square feet each in areas zoned for them. City staff will develop a set of criteria for selecting the dispensaries.

Councilman Andy Holcombe, who’s also an attorney, said he was convinced the ordinance was in accord with state law, in that it provided for a “nonprofit public-benefit eleemosynary activity” (yes, he really said that) regulated via a land-use ordinance.

Councilmen Bob Evans and Mark Sorensen voted no, as did Mayor Ann Schwab, who wanted to limit the size of the facilities to 1,500 square feet.