Oct 062010

Kern County supervisors extended, for more than 10 months, a moratorium on new medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives in Kern County on Tuesday.

But they agreed to investigate allowing existing co-ops to move to a new location, an idea proposed by a newly formed coalition of cooperative business owners, James Burger reports in the Bakersfield Californian.

“Today was an indication that the board is trying to legislate in a responsible way,” said attorney Phil Ganong, who represents the coalition. “I am hopeful we can strike up a dialogue.”

County Counsel Theresa Goldner told supervisors she needed the 10-month extension to develop a more comprehensive ordinance that would regulate the businesses, including where they can be located, how they impact surrounding neighborhoods and how many there can be. She also wants to see what voters will do with Proposition 19 in November, a measure that would legalize recreational use of marijuana in California.

Supervisors have come out against Proposition 19 and expressed deep misgivings about local medical marijuana cooperatives.

Ganong suggested the county allow existing cooperatives to relocate — something supervisors disallowed when they established the moratorium in August.

He said it would allow collectives to respond to county concerns that they are too close to each other.

Supervisor Don Maben also suggested the board direct Goldner to investigate a process by which the cooperatives could request a move from the board and submit their request, and their new location, to a public hearing.

Supervisor Jon McQuiston suggested the board not limit the investigation to Maben’s public hearing idea, but instead look for multiple ideas for accomplishing the request Ganong made.

The board agreed to let Goldner do that investigation.

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