Medical Marijuana Issue at Hesperia Council Meeting

The Hesperia City Council, after hearing approximately 40 pro-medical marijuana citizens address them, surprised, perhaps even shocked most by voting 5-0 to table an ordinance that would have banned medical marijuana deliveries. The council voted to revise the proposed ordinance. The council in recent years had shut down every brick-and-mortar dispensary in the city selling medical marijuana to those with physician recommendations. The council advised the standing-room-only crowd that those dispensaries had caused numerous problems including a shooting and a mobile van for prostitution. Several council members, who had sat attentively but stony-faced through two hours plus of frightened citizens begging them not to make it difficult for them to get their medicine and several speakers who spoke abusively, said plainly that they were not against home delivery of medical marijuana. Mayor Bill Holland said that the speakers’ comments were moving and thought provoking. “There’s nobody in this room, with your medical conditions, that I don’t want to see get relief. That was not our intention (with the proposed ordinance that would ban home delivery),” Holland told the chamber. The city had created the ordinance in a reaction to a state law that would have given the state sole authority to license marijuana growers in jurisdictions that had no laws in place by March 1 regulating cultivation. That state law has since been corrected with an emergency bill signed by Governor Jerry Brown. “It was going to be–what we do not specify, the state would dictate,” said council member Eric Schmidt. Assistant City Attorney Jeff Malawy said, “I don’t think anyone up here wants to ban medical marijuana. We shut down dispensaries because they were selling for profit. You cannot sell medical marijuana for profit and it must be distributed by a non-profit collective or cooperative.” Mayor Holland noted that until the November election, and a proposition that might legalize marijuana, that “We still have to regulate this. I suspect that in November two issues may be settled twofold. One, whether or not to legalize marijuana period and two, whether or not cities and municipalities have the ability to regulate it at all.” After public comments, the council discussed what should be in the revised ordinance. Council Member Blewett stated, “We don’t want any dispensaries or major cultivation places. That should be the essence of the ordinance.” After the meeting, Blewett told the Desert News Post that he did not like marijuana and that he would not change. “But I still came out for something fair,” he said. A married couple who had both spoken passionately to the council and who had been listening to us interrupted. “We’ll see,” said the husband.

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