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Council considers marijuana ordinance

Mike Conway

Post Date:07/14/2016

Marijuana ordinance, police computers on Council agenda

Public hearings on a proposed ordinance on medicinal marijuana and a purchase of police computer systems are on Monday night's City Council agenda.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall) 678 W. 18th St.

The City Council held three meetings to discuss medicinal marijuana and hear from the public. On April 20 Council directed staff to prepare an ordinance regulating four marijuana dispensaries in professional or commercial office zones and planned developments with office zones. Dispensaries would have to be away from schools, parks, youth and recreation centers, libraries.

The proposed ordinance would allow deliveries and allow people with medicinal marijuana cards to grow 12 immature or six mature plants indoors or outdoors as long as they are no visible from adjacent properties or the street. More details on the proposed ordinance can be found in the agenda online.

The draft zoning ordinance went before the Planning Commission in May which voted to change it to limit the total number of plants grown to only six and only indoors, and allow dispensaries in light and heavy industrial zones.

When the ordinances went before Council July 5, the Council deadlocked 3-3 on two different proposals, with Councilmember Lor absent.

The Council will consider the purchase of 21 car computer systems for police patrol vehicles for $100,000 using funds from the Merced County Remote Access Network and the purchase of 21 Panasonic Toughbook laptop computer systems for 21 patrol cars piggybacking on a contract with Sacramento County at a cost not to exceed $92,492.

A proposal to put another tile art project in Bob Hart Square also is on the agenda.

A closed session will be held at 6:30 p.m. to discuss existing litigation on a workers compensation case.

City Council meetings are streamed live on the Internet. A link to the live meeting is on the City's web site at Videos of previous meetings can be found at that link, and are tied to each agenda item. Those services are in addition to the live broadcast of the regular meeting on Comcast's Government Channel 96.

The Council agenda is posted online at and is available outside the chambers prior to the meeting. Request to Speak forms are available at the meeting or can be downloaded from the City's website. Cards must be turned in to the City Clerk in order for a person to be recognized by the Council.

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