The Palm Springs City Council is expected to give final approval Wednesday night to an ordinance that would allow two medical marijuana dispensaries within certain industrial zones in the city.
If the measure receives final approval, it will go into effect after 30 days, making Palm Springs the first city in Riverside County to officially allow medical marijuana dispensaries.
The City Council on Feb. 18 gave initial approval to the proposed ordinance, which would limit the number of medical marijuana dispensaries to two, and only let them operate in industrial zones.
Douglas Holland, the city's attorney, has said there are as many as seven illegal dispensaries operating within the city. He said he is working to file civil complaints against those dispensaries to shut them down until the proposed regulations go into effect.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last week that raids by the Drug Enforcement Administration on marijuana dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal will be stopped.
Proposition 215, approved by California voters in 1996, made it legal to sell marijuana -- on a nonprofit basis -- to people who have a doctor's prescription. Since then hundreds of dispensaries have sprung up throughout the state.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Before the attorney general's announcement, DEA agents raided many dispensaries throughout Southern California.
Under the proposed ordinance, cooperatives and collectives would not be allowed within 1,000 feet of each other or within 500 feet of schools, public parks, playgrounds, churches, youth centers or residential areas.
The dispensaries would also have to operate within specific industrial zones within Palm Springs.
Other provisions state that the dispensaries must be set up as nonprofit collectives or cooperatives, as recommended in the guidelines issued by California Attorney General Jerry Brown in August.