By Deb Murphy

Bishop will continue to wait and see what becomes of Proposition 64, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, and Inyo County’s advisory ballot measures on commercial of pot, under discussion at today’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting.

City Attorney Ryan Jones came armed with a proposed ordinance, but councilmembers deferred to the County’s intent to look to the community for direction on land use ordinances allowing medical and/or recreational marijuana businesses and a proposed 5-percent tax on gross receipts for those businesses.

Voting results will be broken down precinct by precinct, identifying those communities who either hate the idea or find it acceptable. As councilmember Karen Schwartz said “we can see what the people want.”

City Administrator Jim Tatum agreed. “We’ll have more information,” he said, “but will face the same issues. It could simplify (the discussion) or make it more complicated. We may have a serious conversation if Prop. 64 passes. There are numbers that support both sides. We need to end with our community’s values.”

During the council discussion, Pat Gardner said she had done local research on medical marijuana. After talking with health care providers, she concluded that delivery services weren’t necessary. Area pharmacies told her Marinol (man-made THC, the potent ingredient of cannabis) has been available with a prescription since the 1960s. “The system works,” she said.

The proposed ordinance looked very much like the ordinance under discussion when City Council looked at medical marijuana late last year, noting all the health, crime, smell, environmental, fire from grow lights and safety risks of all things cannabis. The ordinance would ban everything but cultivation of six plants for personal use, an activity that cannot be banned according to the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

Restrictions on those six plants could potentially ban personal use cultivation within city limits, particularly the prohibition of cultivation within “1,000 feet of a school, childcare center, or the City park.” The entire City of Bishop is just under 2 square miles.

Today’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting should mark the end of the marijuana saga until after the election.

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