California Healthline Highlights Recent Medical Marijuana News
The Alameda County Sheriff's office last week sent letters to two medical marijuana dispensaries informing the establishments to close because they violate a new county law that prohibits dispensaries within 1,000 feet of local schools, the Contra Costa Times reports. Both dispensaries -- Alameda County Resource Center and Health Center -- are expected to appeal the order.
Under the new law, dispensaries must compete for one of three permits to maintain operations.
Jack Norton -- owner of Health Center, one of the largest dispensaries in the county -- said a county assessor's map shows the building is 1,050 feet from Edendale Middle School.
Operators of the Alameda County Resource Center could not be reached for comment.
An appeals panel will decide by Jan. 1, 2006, which dispensaries in the county will receive the three permits to operate. Dispensaries that do not obtain a permit must close (Ashley, Contra Costa Times, 11/8).
The Butte County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday rejected a proposal by the county Department of Public Health to charge a $56 fee to county residents seeking medical marijuana user identification cards, the Chico Enterprise-Record reports. Phyllis Murdock, director of the county DPH, said the fee was intended to cover the expense of issuing cards.
DPH estimates about 100 to 120 county residents will apply for the cards annually, which will cost the county $5,683 a year per 100 applicants (Aylworth, Chico Enterprise-Record, 11/9).
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 4-0 to file a lawsuit against the state challenging a law that requires counties to issue identification cards to medical marijuana users, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. One supervisor was not present to vote at the meeting (Wolf Branscomb, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/9).
In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, which allows doctors to recommend marijuana to patients to alleviate pain from some medical conditions. The measure also allows patients to grow and transport marijuana. In 2003, the Legislature adopted a law that requires counties to issue identification cards and maintain databases for marijuana users.
Last week, supervisors voted to refuse to implement the ID cards and registry programs. Although only six counties across the state have implemented the program, San Diego is the first to refuse to participate (California Healthline, 11/3).
According to county Counsel John Sansone, the focus of the lawsuit "is on whether or not the state mandate is legal." He added, "The argument would be that the state legislation is pre-empted by federal law." Sansone said he expects the lawsuit to be filed within a month.
Medical marijuana advocacy groups, which had threatened to sue the county for noncompliance, likely will intervene in the county's suit against the state, the Union-Tribune reports (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/9).
The Santa Cruz City Council voted to approve an ordinance that would create a city-run medical marijuana program, the New York Times reports. Implementation of the program will be delayed pending federal approval of the measure.
According to the Times, sponsors of the ordinance, which was written with guidance from the American Civil Liberties Union, said it could provide a test case to determine whether states have a right to opt out of joining federal efforts to close medical marijuana dispensaries, as some city officials believe (Marshall, New York Times, 11/9).