Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Solano County Board of Supervisors to consider medical marijuana embargo at this morning's meeting

(Originally published in the 1/5/16 edition)

   The Solano County Board of Supervisors is being asked to consider the adoption of an Interim Urgency Ordinance imposing a 45-day embargo on the distribution, cultivation, manufacturing and testing of medical marijuana in unincorporated Solano County at its meeting today.
   Under 1970’s Controlled Substances Act, the distribution or possession of marijuana is considered a federal offense. However, under the Compassionate Use Act, which was passed by California voters in 1996, patients who use medical marijuana are exempt from criminal liability under state law. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court determined in the case of Gonzales v. Raich that Congress had the power to ban the use of marijuana, even where states allow the use for medicinal reasons.
   In 2008, then-Attorney General of California Jerry Brown published “Guidelines for the Security and Non-diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use.” In one section, Brown wrote “Although medical marijuana ‘dispensaries’ have been operating in California for years, dispensaries, as such, are not recognized under state law.” Now serving as governor, Brown signed three separate bills- Assembly Bill 266, Assembly Bill 243 and Senate Bill 643- in October, which imposed statewide rules on the growth, sale and transportation of medical marijuana. All three laws went into effect on Jan. 1.
  The sale and distribution of legal prescription and non-prescription drugs is generally considered an acceptable land use in incorporated and incorporated areas of Solano County, the zoning regulations do not provide specific regulations on medical marijuana. 
   As the ordinance notes, “In order to allow time for the county to consider and study possible enactment of the implementing regulations, it is necessary to suspend the approval of all medical marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, testing, distribution, transportation and home delivery that may be in conflict with development standards and implementing regulations the county intends to consider or study within a reasonable time.”
   The ordinance also notes that a moratorium would give the county enough time to draft and adopt regulations that are consistent with the Compassionate Use Act as well as the recently enacted bills. 
   Four of the five members on the Board of Supervisors would need to vote yes for the ordinance to pass, and it would take effect immediately after being adopted for the next 45 days, unless an extension is called for. 
   In other business, the board will be voting to confirm the selection of president and vice president of the East Vallejo Fire Protection District’s  Board of Directors, and Supervisor Erin Hannigan will be presenting a resolution recognizing January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. 

   The Board of Supervisors will be meeting at 8:30 a.m. today at 675 Texas St. in Fairfield. For more information, contact 784-3487. 

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