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Mar 10, 2010 2:51 AM by Ariel Wesler

City council will vote on banning medical marijuana dispensaries

Guadalupe will decide if it should place a permanent ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

The council will hold its second public hearing on the matter tonight at 6 p.m. The city has had a temporary ban in place since last May. That ban is set to expire May 8.

Only one application for a medical marijuana dispensary has been filed with the city of Guadalupe, but it's started a major debate.

"You might be healthy today and then tomorrow, you might need it. Look at it that way. . .I not agree to anybody's misue of the marijuana to smoke or to do something bad, but for the healing or for some pain or pain, where some people need it, I'm for it, said Manuel Ramos of Guadalupe.

Still, limiting the controversial drug for those who need it is often difficult to do. The Guadalupe Police Department favors the ban. The chief says the dispensaries bring the potential for additional crime in the city. Other cities have also seen problems with unauthorized growers.

If the city council passes the ban, it would join some of its neighbors, including Santa Maria, Lompoc, and Buellton, who already outlaw the medical marijuana clinics.

Last month, the planning commission forwarded a draft of the ordinace to the city council without offering a recommendation either way. Now, the final decision rests on the shoulders of city councilors.

Santa Barbara County also has a temporary ban in place, which will expire by the end of the year. County supervisors are already looking into a permanent ordinance.

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