Pubdate: Wed, 12 Aug 2009
Source: Union, The (Grass Valley, CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Union
Author: Dave Moller, Senior Staff Writer
Cited: Nevada County Board of Supervisors
Cited: Nevada City Council
Referenced: The Attorney General's guidelines
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


Don't look for a medical marijuana dispensary to open in Nevada 
County outside of its cities soon.

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an 
emergency, 45-day moratorium on medical pot shops Tuesday. 
Supervisors then gave the job of crafting an ordinance regulating 
dispensaries to three county departments that already strongly oppose them.

"I don't oppose medical marijuana, but I vehemently oppose outright 
retail sales of marijuana," said District Attorney Cliff Newell, who 
also suggested a "long-term moratorium" be considered. Newell led the 
charge along with Sheriff Keith Royal and Planning Director Jody Stewart.

The move means legal pot shops can't be opened in the county areas 
outside the cities of Truckee, Grass Valley and Nevada City at least 
until Sept. 26.

Grass Valley is under a one-year moratorium for dispensaries. Nevada 
City council members will deal with their 45-day moratorium when it 
lapses tonight. Truckee officials were unavailable for comment late 
Tuesday on whether the town has an ordinance.

Although Stewart said the departments would look into ordinances that 
would allow or disallow medical pot shops in the county, Royal and 
Newell spoke firmly against them.

Nevada County has seen many incidents of crime involving marijuana, 
including "major assaults, batteries, robberies; we've had murders," 
Royal said. He also expressed fear that people would try to buy or 
steal marijuana from patients near dispensaries.

The sheriff pointed to a report on dispensaries from the California 
Police Chiefs Association saying medical pot shops attract criminals 
and cause crime to increase in the areas where they are opened.

"There's a dark reality of what happens when you put a dispensary in 
your community," Royal said.

Supporting the moratorium was Deputy County Counsel Michael Jamison, 
who said he believes dispensaries were illegal because the people 
providing marijuana for them are not primary caregivers, as outlined 
by state law and Attorney General's guidelines.

Unlike the meetings on pot shops in Grass Valley and Nevada City, 
where proponents spoke for opening a dispensary, only one person did 
so at the county level.

Cloyd O'Dell said he was a Little League coach and contractor in the 
county until he had a stroke. Pain pills don't help him, but medical 
marijuana does, O'Dell said.

"There are people who need it," O'Dell added. "This would take some 
illegal sales off the street."

O'Dell said he resented "the scare tactics" used by county officials, 
Nevada Joint Union High School District Superintendent Ralf Swenson 
and County Schools Superintendent Holly Hermansen to put the 
moratorium in place.

"How many crimes are due to crank, pill drugs and alcohol?" O'Dell 
asked. "Way more than marijuana."

Swenson, Hermansen and District 1 Supervisor Nate Beason said it made 
no sense to them to be spending tax dollars on anti-drug programs in 
the community, while saying a medical pot shop is OK.

Audience member Pearl Bernard and District 3 Supervisor John Spencer 
both said it did not make sense to them why people would have to use 
or create another facility other than a drugstore to get their medicine.

Bernard suggested Hospice of the Foothills become a caregiver for 
those who need medical marijuana while they are dying. 
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