Pubdate: Thu, 30 Jun 2016
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2016 Los Angeles Times
Author: Abby Sewell


Ahead of a Statewide Vote, Supervisors Extend a Ban on Cultivation 
and Distribution

Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to extend by one year a 
temporary ban on medical marijuana cultivation and distribution in 
unincorporated areas.

The vote came ahead of a statewide vote to legalize recreational 
marijuana and over the objections of medical marijuana patients and growers.

The county put in place an initial 45-day ban earlier this year and 
then extended it by another month. County planning officials said the 
moratorium was needed so they can study how to regulate the marijuana industry.

Medical marijuana dispensaries are already banned in unincorporated 
areas, although business owners from East Los Angeles who appeared at 
the meeting complained that hasn't stopped numerous illegal 
operations from popping up. The new moratorium also bars mobile 
delivery sevices and the growing and testing of medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana advocates and patients urged the board not to 
extend the ban and instead to focus on regulating the industry.

North Hollywood resident Maria Vera Moran said she uses edible 
marijuana to manage the pain from flareups of lupus and relies on 
delivery services to get it because her condition makes her unable to drive.

"To force these businesses outside of Los Angeles is shortsighted and 
ignores so many benefits they provide to patients just like me," she said.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who cast the lone vote against extending the 
ban, said the move is "pretty much kicking the can down the road ... 
until we see what the voters of California do in November."

The statewide Adult Use of Marijuana Act would legalize recreational 
pot use, allowing those 21 and older to possess and use up to an 
ounce and grow as many as six plants.

It was not immediately clear how a statewide vote to legalize 
marijuana would affect the county's ban.

Kuehl asked that the county staff develop a set of regulations that 
can be put in place before a change in state law takes effect, 
including environmental requirements for growing the crop.

"In terms of outdoor cultivation, I don't see treating this crop any 
better or worse than any other grown outdoors," she said.

Despite passing the moratorium, supervisors have also been mulling 
over the idea of floating a local ballot measure that would tax 
marijuana sales to raise money for efforts to reduce homelessness.

Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas asked the county staff to research how 
a tax on a "cash-based" business such as marijuana sales might work.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom