Latest Tahoe medical pot vote strengthens divide between east, west Placer County | SierraSun.com

Latest Tahoe medical pot vote strengthens divide between east, west Placer County

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. and#8212; Thursday’s vote from Squaw advisory council officials to not support a rezoning amendment that would ban medical marijuana operations throughout unincorporated Placer County has strengthened what appears to be a growing east/west divide between Tahoe and Auburn on the issue.

During discussion before the 4-2 vote to not support the zoning text amendment that would define and disallow medical marijuana distribution, two Squaw Valley Municipal Advisory Council members described the argument behind the proposal as and#8220;bogus.and#8221;

and#8220;To take away the right of a person to get what they need when they’re sick is just horrible,and#8221; said MAC member Maureen O’Keefe.

Members also said the ban would create more crime than it would prevent, forcing licensed medical marijuana patients to seek the drug through illegal sources.

and#8220;This (proposal) has gone to four MACs in district five so far, and based on feedback received, my expectation is that I will likely suggest regulation rather than an outright ban,and#8221; said Jennifer Montgomery, district five representative to the Board of Supervisors, who attended Thursday’s meeting.

Of the five councils in district five, four have recommended the Placer County Board of Supervisors not approve the amendment. The fifth council, Foresthill, will review it April 5 and#8212; a day before the board of supervisors is scheduled to vote on April 6 in Auburn.

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On Feb. 12 in Tahoe City, the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council unanimously voted to not support the amendment

Placer County Planner Jennifer Dzakowic, who has presented the county’s stance at all the council meetings, said the district five councils are representative of a growing trend in Placer County, in which eastern councils have either decided not to review the proposal or have voted against it. Conversely, west county councils such as Rural Lincoln and Ophir/New Castle have voted in support of the ban.

So far, four have voted against the ban, while two have voted in support.

According to previous reports, the planning commission has cited a California Police Chief Association report that medicinal marijuana dispensaries cause crime as its main reason for the ban.

Thursday’s Squaw vote came a day after California’s Secretary of State confirmed an initiative to legalize marijuana and allow it to be sold and taxed will appear on the November ballot.

Squaw MAC member Edward Heneveld said Placer County, if it approves the zoning amendment, would be unprepared to deal with the statewide measure should it pass in November. Heneveld said the county should also consider taxing medicinal marijuana to boost county revenues.