Merced County Supervisors Approve 45-Day Ban on New Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
The Merced County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a 45-day emergency ordinance to ban new medical marijuana dispensaries from opening, the Merced Sun-Star reports.
Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin, who requested the ban, cited concern about criminal activity related to cannabis clubs in other parts of the state. He added that he understands "compassionate use" of marijuana but argued that illicit drug traffickers are using Proposition 215 -- the 1996 state law permitting state residents to use marijuana for medical purposes with a doctor's recommendation -- to hide their operations.
Charles Igou, a retired Air Force master sergeant who had planned to open a marijuana dispensary in Merced County, said that it is more dangerous for users of medial marijuana to purchase the drug on the black market than from a marijuana dispensary. "We want it all above board," he said.
According to the Sun-Star, Pazin requested the ban in anticipation of a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on California's law within the next month.
County supervisors are authorized to extend the ban beyond 45 days if the court does not make a decision by July 8.
Before approving the ban on Tuesday, supervisors also accepted a $25,000 marijuana-eradication grant from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the Sun-Star reports (Chircop, Merced Sun-Star, 5/25).