Marijuana Dispensary Regulation Moves Forward

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Ganjarden

Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
The Lake County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to move forward with draft ordinances regulating medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation.

Community Development director Rick Coel will bring the amended ordinances, one for dispensaries and one for cultivation, to the board in a few months for direction before starting public hearings.

People came forward from the standing-room-only crowd to tell the board their concerns regarding limitations on edible marijuana products, whether dispensaries should be allowed in downtown areas, how much space plants can occupy in residential areas and parcel sizes for collective grows, among other issues.

Board members asked staff to consider changing a number of things in the draft ordinance on dispensaries, including ensuring protection of privacy and records from the Sheriff's Department and public, changing zoning and permitting requirements and allowing the sale of edible marijuana, paraphernalia and non-flowering plants.

Supervisors said they don't support allowing dispensaries to be grandfathered-in, rather giving them 180 days to come into compliance with the ordinance if and when it passes.

More than 20 people spoke against the ordinance while two Upper Lake High School students out of dozens in the room asked the board for regulations.

Senior Lisa Irwin said she thinks dispensaries should have rules as many people gather around the dispensary in Upper Lake.

"I think they should be out of town," Irwin said.

Leah Palmer said the people near the Upper Lake dispensary are actually congregating outside Dr. Milan Hopkins' office, which writes prescriptions for medical marijuana. She said once she helped a woman who had never used marijuana to get to the dispensary nearby and get help.

"I do agree with regulation, but not to remove them from Main Street because we need safe access," Palmer said. "That's what this is about."

Joey Luiz of Clearlake said he thinks it's hypocritical to allow pharmacies to sell narcotics feet away from where they sell toys and disallow medical marijuana dispensaries in certain zoning areas. He thinks by strictly regulating dispensaries that the board is putting a noose around the county and its economy.

"I want to see this community come out of poverty," Luiz said.

Chairman Anthony Farrington told the crowd the reason the county plans to regulate medical marijuana is because the "state legislature failed."

Supervisor Rob Brown said he received a lot of calls from people in his Kelseyville area district who don't want dispensaries there.

For the ordinance on medical marijuana cultivation, board members considered how much space to allow for grows in residential areas, parcel size for large cultivations, and permitting requirements.

Joe Fernandez said he thinks he should be able to grow for his children on his property if they're unable. He also wants to protect his neighborhood.

"It takes a lot for me to come up here. I don't want to be looked at as a criminal," Fernandez said. "I don't want to disrespect my neighbors."

Ken Moss said the only person who should regulate how much medical marijuana he can use or grow should be his doctor.

"You're trying to legislate something that's already been legislated," Moss said.

Board members again agreed not to have a committee look at the issues, as that could take years. Supervisors also decided not to issue legal notifications for the next meeting, which is not yet required, but rather to issue press releases and publicize the issue on the county Website. Two public hearings will be set later to address the issue.


NewsHawk: Ganjarden: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Lake County Record-Bee
Author: Katy Sweeny
Contact: Lake County Record-Bee
Copyright: 2010 Lake County Record-Bee
Website: Marijuana dispensary regulation moves forward