By Mario Conde
City Attorney Jennifer Lyon said in her report that Calexico is taking this ordinance since the Calexico Municipal Code does not make it clear if medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed, and if so, what zones can they operate. Lyon stated that many cities are worried about regulating dispensaries because the law in this area is still unsettled. The City believes that these types of dispensaries attracts negative effects on public health, safety and welfare may occur in Calexico because of the proliferation of these medical marijuana dispensaries and the lack of regulations governing the establishments and operations of these facilities. During this moratorium time, the City of Calexico will deny any permits to all Medical Marijuana Dispensaries that tries to establish themselves in Calexico.
“Dispensaries around the State have often attracted burglaries, weapons violations and other crimes. Also, cities have been worried that dispensaries might open up near schools or other sensitive land uses. It is clear that the City has the authority to regulate the location of any such businesses in the City pursuant its police powers.” Lyon said.
With the passing of this ordinance, the City will have 45 days to start looking how to regulate these medical marijuana dispensaries. If the City doesn’t come to a conclusion after the 45 days the City can make an extension of 10 months and 15 days. If the City does not have a final resolution by then the City can adopt a moratorium extension of two years. City Staff believes that that they need to take their time to decide the right way to deal with this issue based on the unique character for the City of Calexico and in order to sufficiently protect the public health of its residents.
In other items, the Council decided not to take any action on a proposed resolution regarding a policy statement against layoffs on public safety departments. The City has 27 firefighters and 41 sworn officers. The City currently is preparing its 2010-11 budget and layoffs are considered to balance the budget. The resolution proposed to avoid layoffs in police and fire. City Employees and members of the Calexico Municipal Employees Association attended the meeting in opposition of this resolution arguing that this will create division and animosity between unions. Mayor pro tem John Moreno and Councilman Daniel Romero said to be against this resolution and in the end gave direction to the City Manager to handle the possibility of layoffs as an administrative issue.