Pubdate: Wed, 25 May 2016
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2016 Los Angeles Times
Author: Abby Sewell


Supervisors ADD One Month to Temporary Prohibition, Hold Off Voting 
on Longer Plan.

Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to extend a temporary 
ban on growing medical marijuana in unincorporated areas by one 
month, but shelved a proposed 10-month ban. Al Seib Los Angeles Times 
SUPERVISOR SHEILA Kuehl noted that there is a strong possibility that 
Californians will vote in November to legalize recreational marijuana use.

In asking to postpone a vote on the longer ban, Supervisor Sheila 
Kuehl noted that there is a strong possibility that Californians will 
vote in November to legalize recreational marijuana use.

"If they do pass, we must regulate and not ban," she said.

The supervisors voted in February to draft a temporary ban on medical 
marijuana cultivation and study a permanent ban, citing concerns 
about environmental effects and safety issues. They passed a 45-day 
ban last month, which was set to expire this week if the board had not acted.

County planning officials asked for a 10-month extension so they 
could conduct a "comprehensive zoning study" and propose a system for 
regulating growing operations.

Marijuana dispensaries are already banned in unincorporated areas.

Medical marijuana patients and advocates pushed back against the ban.

"We have people who have seizures, we have people who have glaucoma, 
we have those with degenerative bone diseases, chronic pain, and 
unfortunately they are denied their medications now because of the 
closure of our cannabis clinics, our dispensaries," said Greg 
Hernandez of Lake Los Angeles. "The only thing that this ban has gone 
ahead and done is reignited the black market right here in the 
Antelope Valley."

Josh Drayton, a former aide to state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin 
de Leon (D-Los Angeles) who now serves as deputy director of the 
California Cannabis Industry Assn., said polling has shown widespread 
support for the statewide marijuana legalization measure. Drayton 
asked the board to bring in industry representatives to help develop 
a regulatory structure.

"Cannabis is not going away," Drayton said. "I would encourage the 
board to get ahead of this instead of behind."

The supervisors have also battled with the wine industry over 
restrictions on vineyards in the Santa Monica Mountains, and Kuehl 
said county planners need to also look at the environmental effects 
of marijuana cultivation.

"I don't want to regulate grapes more than I regulate other crops, 
including marijuana," she said.

The supervisors will revisit the ban June 28.
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