S.C. Supervisors Agree To Allow Dispensaries
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S.C. Supervisors Agree To Allow Dispensaries
Posted by CN Staff on September 28, 2010 at 18:45:09 PT
By Kurtis Alexander, Santa Cruz Sentinel
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Cruz -- The sale of medical marijuana is - technically - illegal in Santa Cruz County's unincorporated communities. The drug is banned by federal law, and county building codes don't permit dispensaries.But since passage of the voter-approved California Compassionate Use Act and more recently the Obama administration's decision not to crack down on medicinal pot use, marijuana ventures have increasingly emerged across Santa Cruz. Nearly a half dozen dispensaries, from Soquel to Boulder Creek, sell to the public and many other businesses operate discretely in homes and garages.
On Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors decided they could no longer turn a blind eye to the industry. By unanimous vote, they agreed to develop regulations that permit medical marijuana dispensaries, under tight controls, and in the meantime placed a moratorium on new shops until the rules are written and adopted."When I first got on the board 12 years ago, we fought this. I voted against it," said county Supervisor Tony Campos, noting his South County district's onetime aversion to the drug. "But now it's an about-face. We're thinking a little bit differently (about marijuana) today."For the handful of dispensary operators and the dozens of marijuana users who showed up Tuesday to protect their interests, their future rests in the details of the county legislation. The pending rules, expected to be drafted by early November, will determine where the drug can be sold, where the marijuana can be grown and how it can be marketed.The stakes are high, says Santa Cruz attorney Ben Rice who has followed marijuana law and the burgeoning industry. He notes there's a robust economy behind the local trade."I would be surprised if more money is going into artichokes and strawberries," he said. "If you pick up a tennis ball and throw it in Santa Cruz County, you have a significant chance of hitting a marijuana grow."In November, California voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana for more than medical use, another potential bump for the industry.The permitting and regulations being put in place by county supervisors only pertain to medical distribution.Dispensary operators and their patients are so far reacting positively to the county's efforts."I'm looking forward to the dialogue to create regulations," said Jonathan Kolodinski, who opened a marijuana collective this summer in Soquel. His niche, at Creme De Cannna, is pot-laced ice cream.Kolodinski joined other dispensary operators Tuesday in beginning to lobby for how the new rules should be designed. Among the concerns were having too many limits on locations, a ban on advertising and employee age restrictions.County Supervisor John Leopold, who has led the charge for regulation, says the county has had the benefit of looking at ordinances in eight other counties and 37 cities, including the city of Santa Cruz, and seeing what works."We're not reinventing the wheel," he said, promising rules that will ensure access to the drug as well as accommodate potential public concerns.Unlike the city of Santa Cruz, which limits the number of dispensaries to two, county supervisors do not envision a quota. They expect to require dispensaries to obtain a use permit and pay an annual fee, provide security at their facilities and perform regular safety tests of their products.A less conventional provision that supervisors are considering is allowing low-income patients to receive the drug at a lower price or perhaps having a nonprofit distribute the drug to the needy.Supervisors expect to consider draft regulation at their Nov. 9 meeting.Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)Author: Kurtis Alexander, Santa Cruz SentinelPublished: September 28, 2010Copyright: 2010 Santa Cruz SentinelContact: editorial santa-cruz.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on September 29, 2010 at 09:52:44 PT
News From Oregon
Ways and Means Co-Chair: It's Time for Legal Pot in OregonSeptember 29, 2010URL:
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