The existing conflict between California State and Federal laws regarding marijuana dispensaries continue to anger both Garden Grove residents and local officials as residents voiced their displeasure during Tuesday night’s city council meeting.
Garden Grove resident Verla Lambert blamed the city council for the rise in dispensaries due to the ban being “ineffectively enforced,” she said.
“The city council was going to limit [the number of dispensaries in the city] to 30 shops,” Lambert said. “Now, nine months later, Garden Grove has 70-plus [dispensaries].”
Maureen Blackman also questioned the rise of medical marijuana dispensaries asking why the moratorium hadn’t slowed down the rise of dispensaries.
“A few months ago, there were 45 dispensaries now there’s 73,” Blackman said. “There are now four [dispensaries] within a half mile in my neighborhood. Is there going to be a marijuana dispensary on every corner?”
Garden Grove Police Chief Kevin Raney was brought in to explain the city’s lack of crackdown on the dispensaries explaining the legal distance between State and Federal laws.
Chief Raney explained that the Federal government still holds marijuana as an illegal drug despite the allowed use of medicinal marijuana per Proposition 215 and that current dispensaries are being heavily monitored.
“The best estimate we have is that we are hovering over the 60 number [of dispensaries],” Chief Raney said.
“Basically if we try to regulate the dispensaries, then we’ve recognized them,” Council member Bruce Broadwater said. “If we recognize them, we have to give them licenses. The Federal Government heard that we were going to recognize them and said they’d sue us if we did. It’s a Catch-22.”
Mayor William Dalton encouraged residents to utilize the police department and report all illegal use of marijuana when witnessed in order to help minimize the problem while offering his opinions on the use of medical marijuana.
“I believe 90 percent of medical marijuana is garbage,” Mayor Dalton said. “It’s somebody that wants to smoke dope and does it. Unfortunately enough people are willing to hand out a piece of paper that says they need [medical marijuana].”
City council also approved a $2.5 million dollar purchase agreement for four properties on Harbor Boulevard and Thackery Drive, Tuesday night that would provide for the development of the second of a two-hotel development plan.
The successor agency had been working on acquiring these properties since 2002 for the hotels and have already built a 285-room Sheraton Hotel from this plan in 2008.
This purchase will set into motion the development of the next hotel.