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Medical Marijuana Ordinance Debated

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The issue of medical marijuana, and how to establish a city ordinance to regulate the distribution of it, was discussed at this morning´s Public Safety Committee meeting in downtown Sonora.

Police Chief Mace McIntosh said that with the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996, many local jurisdictions are finding that it´s better to enact these kinds of regulations.

“Without these types of regulations, conceivably, we could have shops open up next to a school, a skate park, an arcade, or our city parks, and from my personal point of view, I don´t think we want to do that,” McIntosh said. “Cannibis shops are becoming more prevalent in the state, and okay, we have to deal with those. But it´s been left up to local jurisdictions to regulate those shops on where and how they want them located.”

Nursing student Jeff Craft spoke out in favor of the proposal. “You have people that have allergic reactions to medications, and people that don´t. It´s the same thing with medical marijuana. It´s the way these people need to do it to feel the relief of pain.”

As far as where the location should be, Craft said, “We don´t want it near a school, we don´t want it near the historical downtown. We´re thinking of something out towards the East Sonora area.”

But Mayor David Sheppard said dispensing medical marijuana should lie in the hands of existing doctors and pharmacists.

“These people are licensed professionals and are covered with insurance. And I don´t see any of this in this medical marijuana thing for people operating these dispensaries. They´re skirting the law,” Sheppard said.

In the end, City Attorney Richard Matranga was directed to continue his research and revise the draft of the ordinance. The issue will come back to the Public Safety Committee in a few weeks.