Wednesday, April 8, 2009


The county is moving forward with a plan to further regulate medical
marijuana businesses in the unincorporated areas of the county to
meet growing concern about the nature of the businesses in the
unincorporated areas of the county.

The Housing, Health and Human Services Committee of the Board of
Supervisors approved forwarding a draft medical marijuana ordinance
to the full board at its Tuesday meeting and it will likely be heard
by the board April 28, according to county officials.

The draft ordinance was requested after three San Mateo collectives
were shut down in raids Aug. 29, 2007 and the city began its own
investigation. The San Mateo City Council had its second reading of
its own ordinance Monday night that would require medical marijuana
dispensaries to register through the police department and meet
certain security and business regulations. It also prohibits
collectives from anywhere in the city but manufacturing and service
commercial areas.

For the most part, the ordinance regulates the "collective"
cultivation of medical marijuana. Collectives are places where people
pool their money and time to grow marijuana in one central location.
Dispensaries simply distribute and are already prohibited by law.

While state law allows collectives, it places few limits on the
activity and some cities, like San Mateo, are taking steps to fill
the void. San Mateo County is moving forward with its own ordinance
after two medical marijuana businesses opened in North Fair Oaks. The
proposed county ordinance requires primary caregivers to maintain a
list of people to whom they provide care and would require a license.
Before such a license is granted, the County License Board would
ensure that the collective would not adversely affect the economic
welfare of the community and the use of property used for a school,
playground, park, youth facility, child care facility, place of
religious worship or library and be buffered from any residential area.

California voters passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act,
in 1996, allowing sick patients to either grow their own marijuana or
have a primary caregiver grow it for them. In 2003, the state
Legislature passed the Medical Marijuana Program Act to clarify vague
portions of Proposition 215.

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