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S.B. County: Supervisors Consider Outlawing Dispensaries

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San Bernardino County supervisors will vote today on a proposal to ban medical marijuana dispensaries and limit patients' ability to grow plants.

If the Board of Supervisors approves the measure, the county will join several other Inland jurisdictions that have taken similar actions.

The proposed ordinance, which the Planning Commission recommended approval of last month, would outlaw dispensaries, defining them as any group of three or more people involved in cultivating or distributing marijuana.

It also would ban patients from growing marijuana outdoors. The only exception would be at state health facilities, such as nursing homes or hospices.

The county has had a moratorium in place since 2009 that is due to expire in June.

California law allows people to use marijuana to treat a variety of ailments, provided they have a doctor's recommendation. Most Inland cities, however, prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries, and federal law bans the use of marijuana for any reason.

Medical marijuana advocates have criticized the county proposal as stricter than other regions, saying it would leave patients without any safe way to get access to cannabis legally.

They've suggested that the county adopt an ordinance that would regulate dispensaries and allow them to operate under county rules. They also say limiting cultivation to indoors is impractical as it would require expensive investments in equipment and electricity use.

Lanny Swerdlow, a nurse and medical marijuana advocate who has led protests against the ordinance, said supervisors have refused to meet with opponents. He's not hopeful that they will bend.

"Most people recognize it's like talking to a wall," Swerdlow said.

Board Chairwoman Josie Gonzales said the county is trying to allow patients some access to marijuana without going too far.

"We are venturing into brand new territory and we must do so with caution," she said.

In a staff report to the board, Christine Kelly, the county's land use services director, called the suggestion of regulating dispensaries "unworkable" given the large size of the unincorporated county. She said it could result in a proliferation of facilities in the county since all of the cities have enacted bans or moratoriums.

In response to the criticism of the ban on outdoor cultivation, Kelly stated the ordinance allows for the growing of marijuana in a greenhouse as long as it is secured with walls and a roof.

The Board of Supervisors will meet at 10 a.m. at the County Government Center at 385 North Arrowhead Ave.

News Hawk- Jacob Husky 420 MAGAZINE
Source: pe.com
Author: Imran Ghori
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Enterprise Media
Website: S.B. COUNTY: Supervisors consider outlawing dispensaries
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