Tuesday, April 7, 2009

San Mateo council passes medical marijuana ordinance

By Jessica Bernstein-Wax

Posted: 04/06/2009 11:43:35 PM PDT

The San Mateo City Council on Monday unanimously approved adding an ordinance that regulates the cultivation and storage of medical marijuana to its municipal code.

Following city procedure, the law will go into effect in 30 days after the council voted 4-0 in its favor. Council Member Fred Hansson was absent Monday but voted for the measure with his colleagues at the council's last meeting.

Under the ordinance, collectives of patients and their caregivers who grow and store medical pot must register with the city and obtain a license from the police department, with all members providing their names, addresses and phone numbers. Licensed collectives must be located only in the city's manufacturing and commercial zones at least 500 feet from schools, recreation and youth centers.

The ordinance states that collective members must grow marijuana indoors and provide adequate security. San Mateo residents who grow marijuana at home for their own use, or for other people living at the house, are not subject to these rules.

Last month, Americans for Safe Access spokesman Kris Hermes criticized the ordinance for requiring registration, which he said could imperil patients.

However, some patients involved in collectives have said they prefer to grow pot in cities with clear rules.

In 1996, Californians passed an initiative allowing seriously ill people to grow and use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. Under the measure, the patients' caregivers could also cultivate and possess the substance.

A 2004 California Senate bill established a voluntary registration program with identification cards for patients and caregivers.

E-mail Jessica Bernstein-Wax at jbernstein@dailynewsgroup.com.


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