Pubdate: Thu, 30 Jun 2011
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2011 Record Searchlight
Author: Janet O'Neill


RED BLUFF - Those looking to get medical marijuana from a dispensary 
in Tehama County will have to look elsewhere.

Some 18 months after it held its first study session on the issue, 
the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this week to ban the shops 
in the unincorporated area of the county.

The ordinance goes into effect 30 days from Tuesday's adoption, 
Assistant County Counsel Arthur Wylene said, replacing a temporary 
prohibition due to expire.

In May, after several study sessions, the board sent two ordinances 
to the county Planning Commission for review. The second draft 
stopped short of a ban, but limited the number of dispensaries to one 
and required a licensed medical professional to be on site at all times.

The commission met twice on the proposals, recommending June 9 that 
the board adopt the ban and not the regulatory ordinance.

Supervisor George Russell has argued the second option was tantamount 
to a ban, given the unlikelihood anyone would risk a medical license 
to dispense cannabis.

"They can end up in jail," he said Wednesday. He favored the ban for 
other reasons as well, including the increased burden dispensaries 
would load on the sheriff's office and the apparent lack of interest.

"I have not had one call from people saying, 'I can't get my medical 
marijuana,' " Russell said, noting that people could drive to 
Redding, where there are numerous dispensaries. The cultivation law 
the board passed last year drew more interest, he added.

In a telephone message Wednesday, board Chairman Gregg Avilla also 
noted there had been "very few public comments" regarding the 
dispensary proposals.

"I think everybody had their say," he said.

In voting with his colleagues, Supervisor Ron Warner held the 
position he's maintained all along that abuse is rampant.

"I know people who use it and need it, but this medical marijuana 
thing has been so misused that it's a farce," he said Wednesday. 
"It's ruined it for the people that really need it."

Contacted Wednesday, Sheriff Dave Hencratt said he supported the 
dispensary ban in part because "they're illegal. There's no provision 
in the state law that says you can have a dispensary. I think the 
board was wise in their choice because they're listening to their 

In addition, he's not disappointed his already strapped department 
won't have to start policing medical marijuana outlets on top of its 
other law enforcement responsibilities.

"From a professional standpoint, we really do have enough to do 
without having to deal with something else," he said.
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