California Medical Marijuana Bill Killed for 2014

Road ClosedCalifornia Medical Marijuana Bill Killed for 2014, Exceptions and the Rule in Sacramento, and the Perspective from Fresno. Thursday, August 14 marked the death of California’s medical marijuana regulation bill for the year. The California Assembly Appropriations Committee failed to pass Senate Bill 1262 that afternoon. The bill had until Thursday to be validated by Appropriations, and until the end of August to pass in the Assembly. The bill was held in committee and no vote was given.

SB 1262 would have established a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation under California’s Department of Consumer Affairs. The funding for the bureau stood at $20 million, which many viewed as too costly. The concern was that many existing marijuana dispensaries would not have qualified because of the bill’s restrictions (for example, those with a felony conviction would not have been allowed to operate a dispensary). The bureau’s funding was to come from fees from qualifying dispensaries.

The bill would have licensed dispensaries and instituted standards for cultivation, transport, and providing of medical marijuana. Doctors who recommended medical marijuana would have had tighter restrictions. The legislature will likely return to the topic of medical marijuana regulation in January 2015.

At the same time that the bill lost traction in the legislature, the City and County of Sacramento gained more perspective on how to regulate medical marijuana on a local level.

The City Council allowed an East Sacramento dispensary that sits directly across the street from a nursery school and kindergarten, about 200 feet from a park, and less than 2 blocks from a middle school, to remain in business. This was because the dispensary was already in business when the city passed its medical marijuana ordinance in 2010. New dispensaries cannot operate within 600 feet of parks or school. At a City Council meeting, residents spoke well of the dispensary. Not one complained.

In contrast, in the County of Sacramento, county supervisors are expected on Tuesday Aug. 19 to limit the amount of indoor medical marijuana plants grown in unincorporated areas to 9 plants per house. The plants must be concealed from view and grown only in single-family dwellings. Two months ago, in June, the county’s Board of Supervisors unanimously banned outdoor marijuana growth. That ban was instituted because of the complaints of burglaries and shootings by numerous residents.

What appears to be clear in Sacramento is that growing and selling medical marijuana is seen in context. The question is not how much marijuana is produced or sold, but how the growth is conducted and local residents respond to it.

It is important to consider the ongoing concerns of the Central Valley, where marijuana growing is tied up with illicit drug trafficking, complete bans, and the contamination of wells and agricultural fields.

In Fresno, outdoor and indoor medical marijuana grows and medical marijuana dispensaries have been banned by the City and County. In May 2014, the ACLU of Northern California filed suit against the City and County of Fresno, stating that they preempted state law authorizing the growth and sale of medical marijuana.

Fresno city and county officials have claimed that violence and contamination are the reasons for their bans. On August 7, 2014, almost 2,000 plants in an illegal grow in Madera county, which is northeast of Fresno County but part of the Fresno metropolitan area, were found to be have been irrigated with wastewater. The grow could have contaminated water for nearby homes. On the same day, there was a violent altercation south of Fresno involving a theft of marijuana from a home and the use of a 15-year-old girl as a human shield. The sheriff stated that the incident was “directly related to drug trafficking and not medical marijuana.”

Historic Medical Marijuana Bill Dead – Cause of Death: Polarization

City Beat: Pot clinic makes a good neighbor

Sacramento County to limit indoor marijuana growth

ACLU sues Fresno over medical marijuana bans

Agents find nearly 2,000 marijuana plants in Madera county

Apparent pot raid south of Fresno leads to shootout, deaths, kidnapping



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