Temporary Bans on New Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Extended, Enacted
San Francisco, San Pablo and Sonoma County officials this week extended or enacted moratoria on medical marijuana dispensaries. Summaries appear below.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to extend for six months a moratorium on new marijuana dispensaries, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Herel, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/18). Last month supervisors voted 9-0 to enact a 45-day moratorium on new cannabis clubs while the city drafts new ordinances to regulate dispensaries. Currently, there are an estimated 37 dispensaries in the city.
The proposed ordinance would limit to two the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city; require dispensaries to be adjacent to medical office buildings, hospitals or pharmacies and to be at least 1,000 feet from schools, parks or public buildings; and prohibit dispensaries from operating downtown or within 500 feet of homes.
In addition, the proposed ordinance would restrict operating hours to daytime, prohibit the consumption of marijuana at a dispensary, require club managers to discourage illegal activity in areas surrounding the dispensaries, prohibit anyone with a criminal record from operating a dispensary and allow random inspections of the dispensaries (California Healthline, 4/1).
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday also voted unanimously to enact an emergency ordinance banning new medical marijuana dispensaries from opening in unincorporated areas of the county for 45 days, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
The moratorium is intended to provide time for supervisors to draft permanent regulations regulating the location, number and operation of medical marijuana dispensaries in Sonoma County. According to the Press Democrat, the process likely will take six months, but supervisors plan to extend the moratorium when it expires.
Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa and Sebastapol have adopted temporary bans on new medical marijuana dispensaries opening while permanent ordinances are drafted (Soper, Press Democrat, 5/18).
The San Pablo City Council on Monday voted 5-0 to adopt a 45-day ban on the opening of new medical marijuana dispensaries, the Contra Costa Times reports. The ban took effect immediately and is intended to provide time for city officials to draft permanent regulations governing the location, opening hours and operation of marijuana dispensaries.
At the meeting, Buzz Fowler, who operates a medical marijuana dispensary service, recommended that Doctors Medical Center and other hospitals become medical marijuana distributors.
Doctors spokesperson Gisela Hernandez said opening a medical marijuana dispensary "hasn't been an item on our radar" (Lochner, Contra Costa Times, 5/18).