Pubdate: Thu, 23 Jun 2016
Source: Union, The (Grass Valley, CA)
Copyright: 2016 The Union


Commercial medical marijuana cultivation and sale will not be allowed 
in unincorporated Placer County, after the board of supervisors on 
Tuesday voted 3-to-2 to limit marijuana cultivation to small, indoor 
grows by medical marijuana patients only.

The board directed county staff to return with an ordinance codifying 
the approach they approved for their consideration in the coming weeks.

The individual right under California state law to marijuana for 
personal medical use is unaffected by Tuesday's vote.

The board voted in January to approve a placeholder ordinance 
asserting the county's authority to regulate.

After enacting the placeholder ordinance, the board directed county 
staff to seek broad public input in developing recommendations for an 
approach to regulation for their consideration, and adopted the 
following goals for any potential regulation:

Promoting public health and safety

Reducing the size of the illicit market for cultivation and retail sale

Preventing non-medical access and use by youth

Reducing environmental harm to water, habitat and wildlife

Providing clear criteria for responsible businesses and patients who 
wish to operate within the law

Developing a fair system of regulation and taxation that supports 
public purposes

Providing flexibility and authority for modification or adoption of 
additional measures into the regulatory process to ensure effective 

As staff explained in previous presentations to the board and 
community members, a sizeable and mostly-unregulated medical 
marijuana industry already exists in Placer County, resulting from 
the absence of a clear county ordinance. Drug trafficking, crime, 
environmental damage and neighborhood nuisances are among the impacts 
that stem from the unregulated market in Placer County, all of which 
the county proposed to reduce through a clear regulatory framework.

Over 70 percent of Placer County's population lives in cities.

Since January, county staff has conducted or presented at more than 
25 public meetings, including town hall meetings in Auburn and 
Rocklin, to solicit input on the direction of a potential regulation.

Placer's incorporated cities of Lincoln, Rocklin and Roseville sent 
letters to the board indicating opposition to allowing commercial 
medical marijuana cultivation and sales in the county's 
unincorporated areas, and the Placer County Sheriff's Office and 
District Attorney Scott Owens also expressed opposition. The law 
enforcement community and the cities also spoke during public comment 
at the meeting, reiterating their opposition to commercial cultivation.

In a presentation to the board on their findings, staff outlined the 
feedback they received from community members on a regulatory 
direction and presented for the board's consideration five regulation 
model alternatives. Those alternatives ranged from permitting limited 
personal cultivation to a comprehensive regulatory program that would 
allow for commercial medical marijuana cultivation and sale.

For any of them, staff recommended a slow, conservative approach, 
allowing for frequent review and adjustment. Staff also recommended 
convening an advisory council comprised of city representatives, 
concerned citizens, law enforcement and other stakeholders to 
continually evaluate and make recommendations on the county's 
regulatory approach.

The board heard nearly two hours of public comment at Tuesday's 
meeting. Board members thanked the community and partner agencies for 
their input throughout the past few months in shaping the 
recommendations to the board.

"There's no one I've spoken to in any part of this last 12-month 
period that didn't share the concern that we need to regulate in a 
way that dramatically minimizes access of this drug illegally, but 
particularly to the adolescent population," said Board Chairman 
Robert Weygandt.

All board members reiterated their support for patients' right to 
access medical marijuana under state law.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom