Local Governments Consider Medical Marijuana Regulations
The following are summaries of stories on local medical marijuana regulations in Alameda County, San Francisco and Visalia.
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday revised and streamlined an ordinance first adopted in June in order to give three medical marijuana dispensaries in Ashland and Cherryland another opportunity to apply for three operating permits, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Last year, supervisors decided to ban new medical marijuana clinics in unincorporated areas and began plans to regulate seven dispensaries. One of the seven clubs has closed.
In addition, the county is looking for an agency to disburse medical marijuana cards and reduce the problem of doctors providing cards to patients who do not medically need them. "We know there's abuse," Supervisor Scott Haggerty said (Holzmeister, Oakland Tribune, 10/5).
Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) on Wednesday said a proposal by county Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi to regulate the city's approximately 35 medical marijuana clubs does not include adequate restrictions, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Under Mirkarimi's proposal, which the Board of Supervisors' Budget and Finance Committee will consider Thursday, marijuana clubs could operate within 500 feet of a school and could sell up to one pound of marijuana per patient daily. Newsom wrote in a letter, "I do not believe that our city should increase the amount of medical cannabis a person can possess to one pound -- as currently proposed."
Newsom has proposed a 1,000-foot limit for marijuana clubs from schools, recreation centers and parks; strict advertising regulations; and a daily limit of eight ounces of marijuana per patient. Mirkarimi responded that Newsom's location restrictions would essentially ban the clubs to outlying areas of the city (Goodyear, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/6).
City officials approved an ordinance that would create a license process for operations that seek to produce or distribute medical marijuana, and the City Council on Oct. 17 is expected to give final approval with only minor changes, the Fresno Bee reports.
The ordinance also would limit such opertations to commercial zones. Deputy City Attorney Alex Peltzer said, "Our goal is not to forge new ground, but to create local guidelines."
Dispensary operator Jeff Nunes said he supports the ordinance, but believes that the zoning restrictions included are too narrow and that a limit of 99 plants per cultivating operation would only lead to an increased number of operations and more work for police (Sheehan, Fresno Bee, 10/5).