On purely legal rationale, the to ban medical marijuana facilities until federal and California law align.
On Friday, federal prosecutors announced a crackdown on the state’s commercial marijuana industry, saying that they will not allow the for-profit sale of medical marijuana. However, the California voter-approved Compassionate Use Act of 1996 allows seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana with a doctor's permission, directly against federal law.
"Cities are in untenable dilemma between state law and federal law,” City Attorney Pamela Thompson said.
And councilmembers clearly expressed no desire to challenge the federal law by allowing medical marijuana facilities.
“We don’t need Redwood City to be made an example of,” Councilmember John Seybert said. “A city’s zoning ordinance or planning issues falls even lower on the totem pole of law, below state and federal.
The Planning Commission initially to ban marijuana based on land use issues. But the federal government’s active affront on the facilities was the primary reasoning for the councilmembers’ decision.
A disabled Veteran who relies on marijuana for medication explained the benefits of dispensaries for the community. After serving in the military, he said his ailments were so bad he wanted to end his life—until he began taking medical marijuana.
“I was a patient at the VA Hospital after 1993 and given about 400 medications to do everything from sleep to poop to stop stuttering,” he said. “For nine years, I wanted to end my life but then someone suggested medical marijuana.”
He discussed how the dispensaries are more than just distributive centers, but communities for patients to grow their own medication and obtain a better quality of life.
Though Councilmember Ian Bain said he sympathized with patients who are unable to acquire medication, he supported following the city attorney’s legal advice.