Medical marijuana: Placer supes OK regulation amid new state laws | SierraSun.com

Medical marijuana: Placer supes OK regulation amid new state laws

Staff report

PLACER COUNTY, Calif. — The Placer County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a measure to regulate medical marijuana within unincorporated areas of the county.

According to a county news release, the board's decision does not specify regulation standards, but it does allow staff to work with residents to begin to define what the regulation should look like.

On Oct. 9, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act. The act, effective Jan. 1, consists of three separate bills that cumulatively regulate medical cannabis dispensaries, delivery services and cultivation.

The bill known as AB 266 is the core of the new law. It requires dispensaries and delivery services to secure not only state permits, but local permits as well — approval must be obtained by Jan. 1, 2018.

Previously, dating back to when medical marijuana was first legalized in 1996, only state approval was needed.

However, AB 243, which is specific to cultivation, sets a deadline of March 1, 2016, for local jurisdictions to have land use regulations or ordinances regulating or prohibiting the cultivation of marijuana, or the state becomes the sole licensing authority.

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"What we discussed … was putting in a placeholder legislation in January that would preserve our right of jurisdiction over what happens in Placer with regards to cultivation, land use, location, manufacturing —­ all of the components that come with medicinal marijuana use," District 1 Supervisor Jack Duran said in a statement. "And provide us the opportunity after January to then really put the meat on the bones in crafting an ordinance that suits our needs for passage later in the year."

The move comes a month after Truckee Town Council opted to table any decisions until a future meeting, due to a strong community turn out in which a majority of residents urged officials to not adopt placeholder laws to ban medical marijuana because it could have adverse impacts on local patients who need the medication to function.

To date, Placer County has not enacted any ordinances that regulate medical marijuana.

"Since county zoning ordinances prohibit activities that aren't expressly permitted, this has effectively banned medical marijuana in the county's unincorporated areas," officials said, which includes North Lake Tahoe and other areas near Truckee.

Aside from the state laws, county staff reportedly advised supervisors this week that "not regulating or banning medical marijuana will continue the risk of criminal activity and environmental damage."

The board is expected to take up the issue again in January 2016 with "an initial ordinance to assert the county's authority to regulate."