FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The city of Coalinga is moving forward with plans to allow a medical marijuana dispensary and other services within the city limits.
Last Thursday the Coalinga City Council voted unanimously to allow a medical marijuana dispensary, commercial cultivation and delivery services within the small southwest Fresno County town.
Coalinga is the first city in the county to do this since the California Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act went into effect on January 1. "That's a huge benefit to us if we move forward with it," Nathan Vosburg of the Coalinga City Council said. "We will draw people in from the remote areas. They will come through and get the medicine here. For some of them it will be a quicker drive and maybe it will stimulate the economy."
Vosburg says other cities in California have seen revenue hit over $1 million, and he would like to see that money go to Coalinga police and fire departments.
But first the city must lay the groundwork of the new laws that comply with state regulations by March 1 and those rules are in the very early stages of development. "The devil is truly in the details," Coalinga police chief Michael Salvador said. "And those details are still not even close to being drafted."
Later this week Salvador will meet with other city leaders to develop three different options for regulations, but each one will have the same priority. "The goal is to the give the council something workable that detects public safety," Salvador said. "Achieves goals that they have set for their city and something that is compliant with the new state law."
Vosburg says he has heard a number of concerns about crime but believes regulations will be in place to protect everyone.
He says there was huge support at last week's meeting for a medical marijuana dispensary and he believes the support will continue to grow. "I look at this as a gateway to success," said Vosburg. "It is a green rush you could say. Kind of a gold rush. Maybe it will allow us to make this a better place for our own citizens to live."
He says different options for regulations in Coalinga will be presented to the public at a city council meeting in February.