Pubdate: Sat, 9 Apr 2011
Source: Corning Observer (Corning, CA)
Copyright: 2011 Freedom Communications
Author: Julie R. Johnson, Tri-County Newspapers
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - U.S.)
Bookmark: (California)


Time is running out for Tehama County's Board of Supervisors to adopt 
a final ordinance concerning medical marijuana dispensaries.

As the county's emergency moratorium on pot dispensaries expires 
Sept. 14, Assistant County Counsel Arthur Wylene said the final 
ordinance needs to be in place by August.

"That may seen like a long time, but the process can be very 
lengthy," Wylene said.

On Tuesday, the board and other county officials held a study session 
to discuss options available to the county concerning dispensaries - 
permit, regulate, or prohibit.

"We are holding this study session to get some guidance on what the 
board is hoping the permanent solution will look like," Wylene said.

Supervisors Ron Warner and Dennis Garton both said they would prefer 
to completely ban dispensaries in the unincorporated parts of the 
county, but understood the county has to work within state law.

"If we aren't going to ban them, then they need to be strictly 
regulated and supervised," Warner said.

The first hurdle the board had to cross was deciding what a medical 
marijuana dispensary is, as defined by Tehama County.

Reaching consensus the board defined a dispensary is a medical 
marijuana collective of 10 or more people, or a collective with a 
storefront or mobile retail outlet of the type that ordinarily 
requires a local business license.

The board instructed Wylene to place a special conditional permit 
requirement in the draft ordinance, including that each permit would 
have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Zoning was another issue. It was agreed commercial zoning was out, 
but the board asked Wylene to come back to the next study session 
with details concerning industrial zoning, creating special zoning 
and other location details.

Supervisor Bob Williams pressed the point of requiring only a 
licensed medical professional be able to dispense the "medicine" from 
the dispensaries.

"If we make the regulations too difficult that would be saying in 
effect we don't want dispensaries," said Supervisor George Russell.

Williams stated if marijuana is going to be used as a medicine it 
should be treated as a medicine and distributed like a medicine by 
licensed medical professionals. He then suggested the county require 
a licensed medical professional be on site at the dispensary during 
all hours of operation.

Other ordinance details to be considered include size restrictions, 
organization and operation, premises regulations, security, records 
and monitoring, and employees and volunteers.

Wylene said in preparation for establishing a medical marijuana 
dispensary ordinance and during the term of the moratorium, his 
office has consulted with other agencies and departments in the 
county and statewide, conducted extensive reviews of dispensary 
ordinances and regulations in other counties and cities, and kept 
abreast of recent case law.

Since the county set its temporary ban on dispensaries in 2009, at 
least one pot dispensary was shut down within its jurisdiction, and 
the county won a class action lawsuit filed against it concerning the 
medical marijuana cultivation ordinance.

The board's next study session on the dispensary ordinance is April 
19, following a 1:30 p.m. appeals hearing.  
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