San Juan looks to make pot dispensary ban permanent

The pot club's director, Scott McPhail

The San Juan Bautista City Council on Tuesday will consider
making permanent the prohibition of medical marijuana dispensaries
from the city, extending a ban put in place last May.
The San Juan Bautista City Council on Tuesday will consider making permanent the prohibition of medical marijuana dispensaries from the city, extending a ban put in place last May.

The proposed ordinance would modify the municipal code to ban dispensaries such as Purple Cross Rx, which was sued by the City of Hollister for operating downtown in violation of zoning laws. The dispensary vacated that location before the matter went to court and set up shop in Los Banos.

Purple Cross recently re-established a local dispensary on Bolsa Road just outside of the Hollister city limits and closed its Los Banos site.

San Juan officials were unavailable for comment on Monday, a federal holiday, but City Manager Steve Julian previously said the adoption of an urgency ordinance eight months ago was not done in response to a specific request to open a dispensary in the Mission City.

Rather, he said the city council “has seen what Hollister and other communities are going through” as they attempt to ban dispensaries – typically after they had already set up shop.

The urgency ordinance banned dispensaries through March of this year. The ordinance to be considered Tuesday night would make that ban permanent.

Julian said the city wanted the extended moratorium so it could study security protocols, traffic impacts and other issues associated with municipal code amendments pertaining to pot dispensaries.

San Juan’s zoning, particularly in its historic downtown, is “fairly rigid” already, Julian said, though it did not specifically prohibit dispensaries prior to the passage of the urgency ordinance last May.

The San Juan Bautista City Council will meet at City Hall, 311 2nd St., at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Also on the agenda is the proposed formation of a downtown committee with local merchants to discuss economic development and the scheduling of town hall meetings.

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