Tahoe advisory board blasts Placer County for January medical marijuana vote
February 12, 2010
TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; Insufficient research and improper public processing were the main reasons behind a failed motion Thursday to recommend banning medical marijuana collectives in Placer County.
The proposal, forwarded to the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council by Placer County Planning Commission, included zoning amendments aimed at defining and disallowing all types of medical marijuana business operations throughout the county. The proposal asked the advisory council to recommend the amendments to the Placer County Board of Supervisors for future approval.
Zachary Hymanason, NTRAC Chair, described the proposal during Thursday’s meeting as both unconvincing and improperly processed.
and#8220;This really wasn’t done according to the process, and when we’re going to take on issues that have county wide significance, there is a process and we’re going to use it,and#8221; said Hymanason, referring to NTRAC member Loley Kupec’s comment that NTRAC should have been presented with the proposal before the county planning commission was allowed to vote on it.
The planning commission voted 5-1 on Jan. 28 in favor of the amendments, with commissioner Mickey Gray being the sole voter against.
Hymanson said there are many holes in the planning commission’s argument, such as a lack of public outreach, pro and con data and, most notably, research on marijuana facilities already existing in the county.
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and#8220;I wasn’t really convinced by the information that was presented that a ban is really necessary or in the best interest of the county,and#8221; Hymanson said.
Jennifer Dzakowic, senior planner for Placer County, gave a brief history about California and federal marijuana laws. As the planning commission’s main reason for the ban, Dzakowic cited a California Police Chief Association report that medicinal marijuana dispensaries cause crime.
Dzakowic was unable to respond to questions from the council about data collected from local county medicinal marijuana dispensaries.
and#8220;I cannot answer that question yes or no,and#8221; Dzakowic said.
However, she said the proposal was generated by the planning department due to an increase in medicinal marijuana business requests and no existing medical marijuana regulations in the county zoning ordinances.
Phone calls seeking additional comment from Dzakowic went unreturned Friday, as county offices are closed through Monday, President’s Day.
Tahoe City resident Anthony Mollins, president of Tahoe Herbal Care and#8212; a medicinal marijuana collective servicing Truckee and the North Shore and#8212; said NTRAC’s decision reflected the feelings of the community.
and#8220;I guess I’m not really surprised at the decision because the people who live in Tahoe City are compassionate people, and that showed through,and#8221; Mollins said.
Tahoma resident Ed Miller, owner of Wild West Communications Group, said if the county’s argument of added crime is to hold weight, alcohol distribution would also have to be banned as a catalyst for criminal activity.
and#8220;You’re looking at years and decades of conservative thinking; that’s not going to change over night,and#8221; Miller said.
He said the planning commission’s argument is and#8220;amateur at best.and#8221;
and#8220;First, the surveys should be taken and the studies should be done and then make a decision; don’t come in here with a predetermined proposal stating we don’t want this in the county and this is why,and#8221; Miller said.
Advisory Council member Lolly Kupec said she was surprised at the disregard for public outreach.
and#8220;What Jennifer Dzakowic clearly stated was that she was directed to create this paper that disallowed medicinal marijuana groups and facilities, which is predetermined, and that’s not the true process,and#8221; Kupec said.
and#8220;The issue isn’t over, not by a long shot.and#8221;