CA: It’s Time For Nevada County Supervisors To Take Another Look At Pot Dispensaries

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Since the county Board of Supervisors seems to be in the mood to revisit old decisions, they might want to take another look at their vote in 2011 to ban medical marijuana dispensaries from the unincorporated parts of the county.

Grass Valley, Nevada City and Truckee had already passed bans by the time the supervisors got around to considering the issue, and they closed the loop on a 4-1 vote. The reasons they cited for a ban sound very familiar today.

“We cannot make decisions based on the welfare of a small number of people,” Supervisor Nate Beason said at the time. “My constituents have no interest whatsoever in a medical marijuana dispensary.”

Supervisor Ed Scofield cited security and quality of life issues, and Sheriff Keith Royal said the county provided safe access to medical marijuana. (The sheriff was singing a different tune in January.)

Royal also banged the security drum. “This is about the distribution location” and the crime a dispensary would draw, such as street dealers looking to undercut prices, he said.

Instead of dispensaries, we have a convoluted county ordinance regulating the cultivation of medical marijuana that will eventually be replaced with a permanent ordinance that will probably create steady employment for several lawyers.

People with a legitimate need for medical pot don’t like the temporary ordinance and probably won’t like the permanent one. People who don’t want to live near pot grows or smell it aren’t happy either. But criminals have plenty of opportunities and the sheriff has an excuse to ask for bigger budgets. At least they’re happy.

Dispensaries aren’t a novelty in California. The state Board of Equalization reports there are 500 dispensaries in the state generating $870 million to $2 billion a year. Other people think there are far more outlets than that.

Regardless of how many there are, none of them are particularly close to western Nevada County — Yuba City and Sacramento are about as close as you’re going to get. For people who lack dependable transportation, they might as well be on the moon.

I find it hard to believe that medical marijuana dispensaries are any harder to regulate and police than liquor stores. You know where they are, and it’s easy to monitor who enters and leaves. It’s unlikely dealers will be loitering outside, trying to undercut the price of the tinctures and other special compounds sick people need.

In return for having dispensaries, medical pot advocates would have to give up something. That would be the freelance growing of medical pot. Dispensaries that operate as co-ops would be able to grow their own supply in specified areas, and only in those areas. Any other grows would be illegal and subject to law enforcement. Other dispensaries could import what they need.

Residents who don’t want anything to do with pot won’t have to put up with the grows or the smell. Those who need it would have secure, dependable access to medical cannabis. Law enforcement could focus on the criminal growers in the county, the real threat to our quality of life.

The picture I paint isn’t perfect, and there would be plenty of issues to resolve. But if we apply the effort needed to create a network of dispensaries that would serve the local need, we’d be on a better path than the one we’re following now.

SAC HIP? REALLY?

You may find this hard to believe, but an outfit in Omaha, Neb., thinks Sacramento is a hipster hotbed.

I know, I know, everything else looks hip when you’re in Omaha, but Infogroup, a marketing data firm, claims it has the numbers that put the River City right behind Portland (where 20-somethings go to retire), Seattle (they drink all that coffee to stay awake), and Denver (where “Rocky Mountain high” has multiple meanings).

Where’s San Francisco on this list, you might ask? The City (as some like to call it) is in ninth place, three slots behind Grand Rapids, Mich. (No, I’m not making this up.) No. 10 is Rochester, N.Y. Rochester!

Infogroup said it used a database of more than 15 million records to compile a list of independent businesses that provide products appealing to hipsters: Independent coffee shops, thrift stores, record stores, microbreweries, tattoo parlors, live music venues, bicycle shops, beer stores, and music dealers.

The study then determined the number of hipster-related businesses per 10,000 residents. Sac Town has 2.58 such businesses per 10,000 residents, putting it fourth on Infogroup’s list. They didn’t count actual hipsters, they counted people who sell hipster stuff to hipsters. Still, they insist Sacramento is the “new Oakland,” which isn’t necessarily good. (Oakland didn’t even make the top 20.)

Still, Sacramento will probably run with this as far as it can because its boosters would love to see it granted big city status. Until I moved to Nevada County 16 years ago and started paying attention to Sacramento media, I didn’t realize the River City had an inferiority complex.

That partially explains the city’s willingness to spend a fortune to help build a new arena for the Sacramento Kings, even though the new ownership doesn’t appear to be any smarter than the Magoof … I mean Maloof brothers, who almost shipped the team to Seattle. A lot of people think you’re big time if you have a professional sports franchise you can call your own.

I used to think the Bay Area was part of Northern California. The Sacramento Bee, ever the civic booster, has a different definition, excluding anything west of Vallejo when it runs stories about who ranks where in the north state. That apparently helps instill confidence that Sacramento is big time after all.

The Bee conceded in an editorial that San Francisco probably doesn’t care what a Nebraska marketing outfit thinks. “But here in Sacramento, we should consider it a sign of progress that we’re even in the same league.”

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Maybe It’s Time For Nevada County Supervisors To Take Another Look At Pot Dispensaries
Author: George Boardman
Contact: (530) 273-9561
Photo Credit: The Ledger
Website: The Union