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Wednesday, May 15 2013 06:54 PM

Maxwell calls for citywide pot shops ban

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BY JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer jburger@bakersfield.com

Bakersfield City Council member Terry Maxwell on Wednesday called for City Attorney Ginny Gennaro to draft an ordinance banning medical marijuana shops in the city.

Medical marijuana advocates and opponents made conflicting appeals to the Bakersfield City Council Wednesday night.

The city, by council resolution, banned storefront cooperatives and collectives years ago, but there has been no concentrated enforcement.

A recent California Supreme Court decision, upholding the right of cities and counties to ban the shops, has brought the issue back to the forefront.

Bail bondsman T.J. Esposito call on the council to "monetize" the businesses and make use of the millions in tax revenue that cooperatives and collectives can provide the city.

Phil Ganong, an attorney who has made a name representing medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives, urged the council to develop an ordinance that would regulate shops but support the jobs and tax revenues they can generate.

But Nora Weber said she sees the people who come out of one dispensary daily and doesn't believe patients are there for the medical uses state laws were passed to protect.

"I've never seen so many medically disabled 18- to 36-year-olds in all my life," she said.

Maxwell asked Gennaro to draft an ordinance for council review that would replicate the ban in the city of Riverside, the community whose policy was upheld recently by California's highest court.

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