Medical pot issue gains steam as one Placer County advisory council supports ban
February 26, 2010
TAHOE CITY, Calif. – A movement to amend zoning codes that would ban medicinal marijuana distribution across unincorporated Placer County has received differing views from a pair of its advisory councils.
On Feb. 18, the Newcastle-Ophir Municipal Advisory Council voted unanimously to support the Placer County planning commission’s zoning ordinance amendment to ban all medicinal marijuana collectives, cooperatives and dispensaries.
The vote has created an even division of the three councils that have reviewed the proposal – with one undecided (Sheridan, which took no action after hearing a Feb. 10 presentation), one against (North Tahoe, which unanimously voted against the ban on Feb. 11) and Newcastle-Ophir in favor.
Joe Irvin, Newcastle-Ophir board member, said board members listened to the presentation given by Jennifer Dzakowic, a senior planner in the planning department, and said its vote is aimed at providing some sort of structure for Placer County to follow, and not necessarily as one against medicinal marijuana distribution in general.
“It seems there’s a need to clarify the wild, wild west approach to distributing marijuana,” Irwin said, pointing to the Los Angeles City Council’s 9-3 vote in January to approve an ordinance to shut down an estimated 500-plus dispensaries in the city.
“It’s a step-at-a-time type of thing that’s going around the state, and like everything, there’s no easy this-is-how-it-should-be-done answer,” Irvin said.
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Irwin also said he sympathizes with patients who did need the drug for medical purposes.
Moving forward, Dzakowic said she anticipates most of the remaining councils will give similar approval. Based on the votes, the planning commission will submit its recommendations to the county board of supervisors, which should vote on the proposal at its April 6 meeting in Auburn.