Pubdate: Thu, 04 Jun 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Eric Vodden


Medical marijuana dispensaries in Yuba County would allow patients to 
buy their medicine locally and bring tax revenues to the county, a 
cannabis advocate told county supervisors.

"Thousands of people in your district are having to drive to 
Sacramento to get their cannabis to feel better," said Mickey Martin 
of the Committee for Safe Patient Access to Regulated Cannabis (CSPARC).

Martin made a pitch to supervisors Tuesday evening to work with his 
group to develop a new ordinance that would allow the placement of 
dispensaries in the county. Currently, there are no land-use 
provisions under which an application could be submitted to locate a 
cannabis dispensary in the county.

There were no comments after Chairwoman Mary Jane Griego asked her 
fellow board members if they wanted to discuss the matter. The lack 
of any response would seem to indicate the interest isn't there.

The presentation by Martin came after supervisors in March approved a 
new, tighter marijuana cultivation ordinance that bans outdoor 
growing and limits indoor plants to 12 in a qualified accessory building.

That move prompted a lawsuit, sparked a recall drive against 
Supervisor Andy Vasquez and led to the possibility of multiple voter 
initiative petitions. Martin said earlier if Yuba County supervisors 
weren't willing to work with CSPARC on a dispensary ordinance, the 
group would go to the voters.

"Your ordinance makes it difficult for patients to access cannabis," 
Martin told the board. "This isn't affecting a certain class of 
people. This affects neighbors and friends."

Martin said marijuana has proven to be "safer than most 
pharmaceuticals," promotes public safety by reducing illegal 
trafficking and would generate sales tax revenues. He said cannabis 
is "no more a nuisance than gardenias or roses."

There is a low incidence of crime, he said, because dispensaries have 
a low amount of cash and inventory.

"Dispensaries have better security than most banks," Martin said. 
"There is no evidence of increasing crime rates around dispensaries."

However, not everybody in the audience supported the idea.

Marianne Spencer noted dispensaries sell marijuana in any forms, 
including in baked goods. She said many don't follow guidelines 
established in other counties.

"I would hope you make the decision that we do not want a dispensary 
in Yuba County," Spencer said.

Even some of those who have been opposed to the more restrictive 
cultivation ordinance weren't supporting the idea of dispensaries.

Brook Hilton, a director for Yuba Patients Coalition, which is suing 
Yuba County over the cultivation ordinance, said his organization 
hasn't taken a stand on the matter.

"It's not cost effective for a lot of folks," said Hilton, referring 
to low-income patients.

Charles Lee Boutt, who has opposed the cultivation ordinance, said "a 
dispensary is fine for those who have the money to buy cannabis.

"That's fine, as not everyone can grow," Boutt said. "But as a 
patient, I do not feel it's fair when dispensaries charge $180 to 
$300 for an ounce.

"A person such as myself would not be able to buy cannabis from a 
dispensary. It's not right to allow a dispensary and ban outdoor growing."

A sample 13-page initiative submitted by CSPARC states that the 
absence of dispensaries "results in patients being forced to obtain 
their medicine in the illicit market, or incurring hardship and 
expense from traveling great distances to obtain their medicine from 
outside the community."

It provides that dispensaries would pay a 3 percent tax and includes 
provisions for dispensary licensing.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom