Eureka medical pot ordinance on hold
The Eureka City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to initiate a moratorium on its medical marijuana ordinance after receiving a letter by the US Department of Justice that threatened legal action if the ordinance went forward. Councilmember Linda Atkins cast the dissenting vote.
The letter was solicited by city staff who requested guidance on medical marijuana growing facilities in Eureka. Atkins expressed dismay at staff for contacting the Feds without specific direction from the council. She said the threats to prosecute were predictable.
Medical marijuana was also the focus at Tuesday’s Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting. Supervisors invited Mendocino County officials including Sheriff Tom Allman to give a presentation on their seemingly-successful medical pot regulations.
During the presentation, Mendocino County Supervisor John McCowen appeared bemused at Eureka’s request for input from the Feds. “We don’t have any intention of asking for a letter,” he said.
Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey told Supervisors that while the DOJ says they are committed to enforcing Federal marijuana laws, it’s unlikely because of cuts to funding.
Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos also attended the Supes meeting and expressed support for a county ordinance. Supervisors voted unanimously to send information on Mendocino’s regs to the Humboldt medical marijuana sub-committee for consideration.
But in Eureka, the special on the menu is weak sauce. Interim city attorney Andy Stunich even suggested that the city ordinance be rewritten to refer “herbal medicines” rather than marijuana, and then strike some kind of deal with Eureka Police to enforce rules for the non-descriptive herbs. Councilwoman Marian Brady supported this hazy idea.
The moratorium will stretch out long enough for the new city attorney, Cyndy Day-Wilson to get settled in. She starts in November.