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Angels Council To Revisit Permitting Medical Marijuana Grows

Angels Camp, CA — After tabling efforts to enact its own local rules for medical marijuana cultivation the City of Angels City Council plans another go at it during tonight’s meeting.

As previously reported here, the council members held a workshop last month to weigh a range of jurisdictional options. After hearing from City Attorney Derek Cole and several stakeholders the council remained undecided on how to proceed; even if that meant deciding to wait for the state to roll out regulations based on the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) bills the legislature passed last year.

Tonight — or eventually, Cole says, “The council will have to decide whether to take action now or to let the state address the issue of cultivation through the regulations that are in process.” He confides, “Based on some of the previous meetings, the council members are torn between wanting to do something now and taking immediate local control, versus letting the subject be vetted out by the state.” By defaulting to the state rules, which will take a couple of years to fully implement, the city faces losing an opportunity to develop restrictions that may more befit a small rural jurisdiction with space limitations. The council has also taken note that in jurisdictions that have permissive grow ordinances in place home-invasion robberies and similar crimes and nuisances at neighbors’ properties continue to occur.

Tonight’s meeting, which begins at 6, will be held in the Bret Harte High School Theater (323 South Main St.) in Angels Camp, presumably to provide more room and a larger forum for public comment on grow-related rule proposals. Cole comments, “I think it is always good to hear from all aspects of the public when any item is considered — obviously, the more controversial items draw bigger crowds — but I think, my experience is that the council members appreciate having higher turnout because it shows that the level of public interest is even greater.”

Working Forward From Prohibitive Ordinance  

While the latest draft Cole is working from would prohibit the cultivation of medical pot within Angels Camp and does not empower the city to issue, approve or grant its own grow permits, licenses or other entitlements, he says it is altogether possible the council may direct revisions or request that he prepare another document for consideration.

Staff is also scheduled to present a review of the city’s midyear budget, reporting on July 1 through Dec. 31, 2015 collections from major revenue sources; namely transient occupancy (TOT), sales and property taxes. Overall, staff projects that the city is currently outperforming, with revenue receipts at 52.5 percent, which indicate that actual performance at year end should come in higher than expectations.

TOT intake, in particular, was trending 54.3 percent of budget at midyear, which notably leaves out the city’s first fiscal-year quarter, one of its strongest tourism periods. While expenditures, although slightly ahead of projections, include reimbursable Butte Fire related expenses refundable by FEMA and Cal OES, according to staff, if favorable revenue trends continue and conservative spending is maintained the city would remain well-positioned to meet or beat its budgetary authority.

Among other items of business, the council will consider approving the purchase of a used Type 3 Fire Engine at an upcoming auction, either by using reserves or financing, such as through Fire Apparatus Loan Company. The same vendor provided a “quick” 36-month loan for the Altaville Melones Fire District to purchase a similar engine for $40,000 at auction. That engine, according to the staff report, has not only provided increased fire protection, over the past two years, it has also generated a net income of $200,000 to the fire district’s budgets due to specific unit requests for the vehicle from Cal OES, in-county immediate and CAL FIRE.