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Decisions Coming On Medical Marijuana

Sonora, CA — In light of new state laws taking effect on January 1st related to the regulation of medical marijuana, the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors will need to make some decisions over the coming months.

New state laws signed by Governor Jerry Brown will put in place statewide licensing and operating rules for medicinal pot growers. It does include some flexibility for local jurisdictions.

At today’s meeting, the Board directed staff to move toward a ban on marijuana cultivation during the short term, and the creation of a committee to look at ways to potentially regulate the growing of the drug over the long-term. Items that will be discussed include patient access, how it impacts the drought, environmental impacts and public safety.

Supervisor Evan Royce was the main proponent of trying to find a way to regulate cultivation. Some of the other supervisors appeared more skeptical. Royce brought up the idea of the county potentially reviewing proposals and issuing conditional use permits. With a different opinion, Sheriff Jim Mele argued that an outright ban is the best way to go to prevent future crime, and feels that going down the path towards regulation is undesirable.

Mele argued, “My question is why, why would we want to invite that type of element here?” To which Royce responded, “The element that I’m imagining is not the illegal cartel type setting that you are looking at. It’s a different type of element, and a more professional element.”

Sheriff Mele did agree with the notion of an immediate ban in the short-term. He and District Attorney Laura Krieg both voiced concerns about the increased amount of home invasions that have been tied to marijuana grows, and last week’s triple homicide in the Railroad Flat area of Calaveras County.

The Supervisors also directed county staff members to bring back proposals before the start of 2016 dealing with “mobile deliveries” of marijuana, and whether they should be allowed and/or regulated.