Medical Marijuana Issue Goes to a Vote in Mammoth

Members of the Mammoth Town Council have now voted to okay a mltc_2-17-10zoning ordinance that allows medical marijuana dispensaries, two of them, in the Town of Mammoth. The issue goes to a public vote in June. A separate ordinance that spells out other regulations on dispensaries continues through the process and will not go on the ballot.

The zoning ordinance was reviewed and amended by the Planning Commission at the end of January. It states that there should only be two cooperatives in town and that they should be 500 feet apart. The cooperatives would only be allowed in either the commercial general or industrial areas of town. This includes the industrial park, and the commercial zones along Old Mammoth Road and up Main Street, however the cooperatives would have to be 750 feet away from the schools, so it would exclude the Minaret Village Shopping Center and the south side of Old Mammoth Road. It may also include the area around McDonalds since many of the children walk there for lunch. The cooperatives would be expected to have blacked out windows and full-time security.

Local resident Steve Klassen, who has been behind the effort to bring cooperatives to town from the beginning, pointed out that measures would also need to be taken to protect the safety of Mammoth’s police officers.

“There are going to be people in town legally growing cannabis, and there are going to be people in town illegally growing cannabis,” Klassen said. He added that he was currently working with Police Chief Randy Schienle to determine how to protect the officers and handle this issue.

Klassen also pointed out that he and Tony Barrett, who is also working on the ordinance, are not just “stoners.” “We are concerned with health-related issues,” Klassen said, and pointed out that he and Barrett helped lead the charge several years back to make sure the community voted against putting fluoride in the water.

“I want to educate people who want to close their ears to this,” Klassen said.

Councilman Skip Harvey asked Klassen how he would handle irresponsible doctors who hand out medical marijuana cards like candy. Klassen said each person should be looked at on an individual basis, and that Council should put as many regulations into the ordinance as they legally could. Town Manager Rob Clark also stated that staff needed to review how other communities dealt with these types of doctors.

Town Council unanimously approved the zoning code amendment to allow medical marijuana cooperatives in the industrial and commercial general areas of town. The public will decide June 8th.

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