Pubdate: Mon, 01 Jun 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Eric Vodden


Yuba County supervisors - already facing a legal challenge to a new, 
tighter marijuana cultivation ordinance - will be asked this week to 
allow cannabis dispensaries in the county.

The Sacramento-based Committee for Safe Patient Access to Regulated 
Cannabis (CSPARC) is asking supervisors to join them in creating an 
ordinance under which dispensaries would be allowed. The group will 
be making a presentation to supervisors during the board's 6 p.m. 
Tuesday meeting in the County Government Center in Marysville.

"It is unacceptable to treat patients who qualify for medical 
cannabis like second-class citizens, forcing them to access their 
medicine elsewhere," said a CSPARC statement. "Many of the folks in 
need of cannabis medicinces do not have the resources or ability to 
travel and pay a higher cost for their medicine."

If the board does not go along with the idea, CSPARC spokesman Mickey 
Martin said supporters will circulate petitions seeking a voter 
initiative on its own proposed ordinance.

"In an ideal world, we would love for them to come to the table to 
work together to develop an ordinance that meets the needs of the 
county without having to pay for the cost of a special election," 
Martin said. "If not, we will file our language and put it on the ballot."

The request to allow dispensaries comes after supervisors in March 
approved a new cultivation ordinance that bans outdoor marijuana 
plants and limits indoor growing to a dozen in an accessory 
structure. That ordinance is being challenged in Yuba County Superior Court.

To force a special countywide election, which could cost an estimated 
$130,000 to $160,000, supporters would have to gather signatures of 
20 percent of registered voters. Getting 10 percent would require a 
voter initiative in connection with the next regular election in June 2016.

CSPARC in 2012 circulated petitions for a dispensary initiative in 
Sacramento County but fell short of gathering enough signatures to 
get it on the ballot.

Currently, Yuba County has no land-use provisions under which an 
application can be submitted to locate a marijuana dispensary. It's 
not listed as an allowable use in any county land-use zone, said 
Kevin Mallen, county community development director.

Martin in his letter noted CSPARC sent "information packets" to the 
county two months ago asking the board to work with them on 
developing an ordinance. It said the county did not respond.

Supervisor Roger Abe said Friday he initially is "more opposed to the 
idea than for it." But he said he will listen to what the group has to say.

"I think overall it's probably more harmful than helpful to have 
dispensaries," Abe said. "The reason is that once somebody walks out 
the door, you have no way to ensure that it doesn't get in the hands 
of a minor."

Yuba County Sheriff Steve Durfor, who supported the county's tighter 
cultivation ordinance, said he is also initially opposed to the idea 
of a dispensary.

"I think that what has happened in many jurisdictions where there has 
been the establishment of one is that it has led to a dozen more," he 
said. "There is a fair amount of illicit activity that is connected 
to these sites as well."

But Durfor also acknowledged he has not seen the details of what the 
organization is proposing.

"I am open to considering it when presented with detailed information 
about the security, regulation and operating of such a site," he said.

In addition, Martin said, he hopes to work with the Marysville City 
Council about the idea of a dispensary in the city, saying CSPARC is 
also prepared to start a separate citywide initiative.

Marysville has an ordinance that allows marijuana dispensaries when 
they are specific distances from residences, schools, playgrounds and 
other public facilities.

"It doesn't prohibit dispensaries, but it does lay out where they can 
go," said City Services Director David Lamon.

With residences scattered all through the city limits, Lamon said, it 
is very limited where a dispensary could be located.

Martin said the city ordinance is such that a dispensary "could only 
be located" at the dump along Highway 20.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom