Livingston moves toward banning pot dispensaries

LIVINGSTON -- Livingston will do all it can to keep the door of opportunity from opening to a medicinal marijuana dispensary in town.

Two agenda items for Tuesday night's council meeting deal with the issue.

The first prolongs an emergency moratorium passed April 20 for 10 months. The second item is a new final ordinance that would make the ban permanent.

The two-tiered approach is necessary because the initial 45-day ban would expire before a permanent law could be passed, city man-ager Richard Warne said. The original moratorium was passed unanimously by the council.

The problem first emerged in December when local bar owner Mike Sperry Jr. asked the city how he could open a marijuana dispensary in the city. It was discovered that the city had never created regulations governing dispensaries.

"I think they're doing a great injustice. The fact that we can actually do some good for our little city," Sperry said.

"I could have employed a few people. I could have brought in a lot of taxation. I could have served a big footprint, brought a lot of outside business in here. I could have directed people to gas stations, restaurants."

Sperry said Livingston area residents needing medicinal marijuana now have to travel to Stockton, Bakersfield or the Bay Area to legally buy pot.