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Blue Lake to ban marijuana dispensaries

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BLUE LAKE- The Blue Lake City Council has directed staff to draft an ordinance to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits. The council unanimously agreed to move forward with the plan after listening to the city's attorney presentation at Tuesday's Council meeting.

Mayor Pro Tem, Lana Manzanita, said the risks outweigh the benefits of having dispensaries in town. "We decided that it's a risk we didn't want to take," said Manzanita.

Manzanita said other cities have had to pay for increased crime associated with dispensaries and have faced problems when the federal government closes them. "Until the feds and California decide if their going to play nice, small cities can't afford to be sued," said Manzanita.

Under the plan 215, medical marijuana card holders, will still be able to grow marijuana in their homes in compliance with the law, but have to travel to neighboring areas to purchase it from a dispensary.

Bo Seymour lives in Blue Lake and is a 215 user. He said he would like to see the city make money off dispensaries in town. "The industry or the business is going on anyway. Why not collect some revenue from it," said Seymour.

The closest dispensary is located in Arcata, nine and a half miles away from Blue Lake.

Manzanita said the ordinance can be adjusted when the political landscape changes. "I need to protect the city anyway that I can to keep them from being sued or upping the crime rate," said Manzanita. "That's my job."

The ordinance will be written by the city manager and attorney, then go to the planning commission before being brought to the city council for approval.