MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Santa Clara Extends Ordinance
The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously yesterday to "extend the county's medical marijuana ordinance indefinately after adding more regulations to it." There are no marijuana clubs currently in operation in the county, but the decision reached by officials yesterday allows pot clubs to operate "in unincorporated areas if they meet strict deadlines." The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the expanded ordinance will require "the county's public health department to verify all doctor recommendations for medical marijuana." In addition, patients will be required to volunteer at the clubs so the cooperatives qualify as "primary caregivers" in accordance with Proposition 215. Proponents of medical marijuana argue that the "regulations are too bureaucratic and include too many fees, which would total more than $6,000 for" clubs that apply for licencing. They also "say ill patients should not be expected to work at pot clubs." Peter Baez, cofounder of the Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center, said, "The county's just not going far enough. This ordinance is just symbolic to appease the voters." Supervisors noted that they may not be able to clear the hurdle of federal law, which has plagued all clubs attempting to operate in California since Prop. 215 was passed in 1996. Supervisor Joe Simitian said, "I'm trying to respect the will of the voters on Proposition 215, and I'm trying to make sure we obey state and federal law. How you do both is not entirely clear" (Henneman, 11/11). Click medical marijuana for previous coverage of this issue.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.