The city of Sacramento, unnerved by a federal crackdown on marijuana dispensaries, has abruptly suspended its process for issuing permits to medical pot stores.
The city's order of a "temporary freeze" on dispensary applications comes as other jurisdictions around the state are also reviewing their approach to medical marijuana outlets in light of recent federal actions.
Sacramento's move doesn't mean that the 38 medical marijuana stores operating in the city will have to close. But halting the application process could put in limbo their long-term prospects. Closing the dispensaries would cut off an annual infusion of $1 million the city had counted on in voter-approved taxes on the receipts of marijuana stores.
In an Oct. 18 memo obtained by The Bee, City Manager John Shirey cited the specter of federal action against dispensaries as a reason for suspending the permitting process. Shirey also noted a recent state appellate court ruling that found a Long Beach ordinance regulating dispensaries runs afoul of federal law, which regards marijuana as an illegal drug, medical or otherwise.
"As a result of the uncertain climate on medical marijuana, I have directed staff to freeze or halt the processing of applications for medical marijuana," Shirey said in the memo to the City Council. "As of this time, we will not accept any new applications or set future hearing dates until we receive further direction on the legal viability of the city's medical marijuana ordinance."
Declaring that the state's medical marijuana law "has been hijacked by profiteers," California's four U.S. prosecutors last week announced investigations and prosecutions of dispensaries, growers and investors throughout the state's medical marijuana market.
Read the full article at SacBee.com