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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

City Council Upholds Pot Permit and Denies the Challenge to Its Approval

• Members Initially Deadlocked on Vote

BY BILL KOENEKER

The Malibu City Council heard two appeals filed by the same appellant over a permit for a medical marijuana dispensary at its meeting this week.
The council approved the applicant who was approved by the planning commission, and denied the appeal of that application.
Subsequently, the council denied the request for a permit of the applicant/appellant who was turned down by the planning commission.
The applicant/appellant, who was denied a permit for a medical marijuana dispensary at a planning commission meeting had appealed the panel’s decision and at the same time the applicant/appellant, Twin Lyons Wellness Center, had also appealed the planning commission’s decision granting a permit to Malibu Collective Caregivers after the commission had approved the permit.
Councilmember Jefferson Wagner recused himself from the proceedings, and upon prodding by Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich, explained that Lyons Wellness Center would rent space in his building, if the permit was granted to Lyons.
The two applicants were vying for one permit of two allowed citywide. The other permit was granted to PCH Collective several years ago.
The city’s ordinance only allows two operating pot pharmacies in the city.
Councilmember Lou La Monte was adamant that the location of MCC was not safe and should not be approved. “There is a parking issue. Am I the only one that thinks this is a bad idea? It is a very bad idea,” La Monte said.
“I have the same concerns as Lou,” said Councilmember Laura Rosenthal. “Is [MCC] really the one for Malibu? It is too small. It is a dangerous area with ingress and egress.”
However, Conley Ulich said, “I feel we must approve this. It was addressed by the planning commission and the staff.”
Mayor John Sibert agreed. “It went through the process in planning and the planning commission. I see no reason to overturn this.”
The council voted and reached a deadlock on a two to two vote.
The council was told that the effect of the tie was that the motion failed and the approval of MCC by the planning commission would stand.
“I ask you to keep deliberating,” said City Attorney Christi Hogin.
The council did so and continued to debate the matter for some time until Rosenthal said she would change her vote if the council agreed to more conditions and restrictions on MCC.
When the dust settled, the council sought to keep the MCC dispensary closed on the weekends and could only operate Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and not offer any delivery service. The vote was 3-1 with La Monte dissenting.
The second appeal went more quickly when Hogin explained there were no more permits to grant and the council was now compelled to deny another one.
Twin Lyon reps were asked if they might challenge the matter in court.
They indicated that all options were on the table, but no decision had yet been made.


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