At its Tuesday meeting, Danville's Planning Commission recommended that the Town Council approve a permanent ban on medical marijuana dispensaries. The permanent ban is a follow up to a 45-day moratorium on medical marijuana distributors adopted in October 2009 and extended twice since.
While the commission was not reacting to an application to open a dispensary, Commission Member Robert Combs said the town is "trying to get in front" of future inquiries.
"We want to have things in Danville that make sense for Danville residents," he said. Combs added that cities with dispensaries tend to have higher crime rates.
The moratorium was put into place after potential operators of dispensaries contacted the town several years ago. Storefront operations around the state now sell everything from raw marijuana to cannabis-laced cookies and lollipops.
A staff report notes that conflicts remain between state law, which allows marijuana for medical uses, and federal law, which doesn't recognize the difference between legal medical marijuana and recreationally used pot.
"We're a pretty small town. We have a limited number of resources and we think this is the best way to regulate it," said Mayor Karen Stepper told the Express last month.
The recommended ban will now move on to the Town Council, which will discuss a permanent action at its Sept. 6 meeting. Assuming the ban moves forward, the council would hold a second reading and possibly adopt the ordinance on Sept. 20. The permanent ban would go into effect 30 days later.
If approved, a stipulation in the town's zoning documents would expressly forbid opening a dispensary within town limits, City Attorney Rob Ewing said. Ewing noted that he hasn't heard any opposition to a permanent ban.