CA: City Council Considers Community Committee To Study Medical Marijuana

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Community requests medical marijuana and recreational regulations be considered separately

Several medical marijuana supporters addressed the Paso Robles City Council during the marijuana regulation study session at Tuesday’s council meeting. The consistent request was for the council to separate medical marijuana regulations from any recreational use regulations the council may be considering.

At its Aug. 30 meeting the Paso Robles Planning Commission voted to recommend that the city council expand its current ban on medical marijuana cultivation and dispensaries and include recreational and commercial marijuana activities in advance of the November vote on Proposition 64, titled the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

The commission’s recommendation spurred concern among those who support and rely on the use of medical marijuana. Speakers at Tuesday night’s study session included cancer survivors, medical marijuana advocates, and representatives from the Central Coast Growers Alliance.

The reasons given for forming a study committee for regulations on medical marijuana included:

  • Quality and cost. Even though there are currently 20 licensed mobile dispensaries delivering medical marijuana to city residents, there is no guarantee of the quality or organic and pesticide-free status. The cost of relying on mobile deliveries can be prohibitive for low income patients.
  • Understanding the need for some patients to grow their own to guarantee consistency and affordability.
  • Researching the marijuana regulations in other state and local governments.
  • Understanding the differences between California state regulations for medical marijuana and for personal use, should Proposition 64 pass.
  • Understanding the need for local dispensaries that can process and dispense marijuana in the forms that are most useful for individual patients, such as vaporizers or oil. One speaker said the nearest brick-and-mortar dispensary is in Goleta.
  • Understanding the local economic benefits in terms of jobs, taxation and revenue, and the economic benefit to small farmers.

At the end of the public comment, Mayor Steve Martin said, “There is a usefulness of marijuana in the medical sense.” Martin said he was willing to consider the possibility of separating medical use from personal use. Councilman Fred Strong agreed that medical use and personal use are separate issues and “at this point in time would consider banning recreational use until state law mandates otherwise.” Strong also said he was in favor of involving medical professionals in the discussion about medical marijuana. Councilman Steve Gregory said he would like to see the laws from Colorado and Washington and learn what is happening with the economies in those states.

City Manager Tom Frutchey said that his office would prepare a proposal to the city council for forming a community committee to study the needs and regulations for medical marijuana use. In the meantime, Frutchey urges community members who are interested in being part of a committee addressing medical marijuana to contact the city council.

Martin said that Tuesday’s study group was not for the purpose of reaching a decision on the ordinance draft that was received from the planning commission. Further consideration will be addressed at the Sept. 20 city council meeting.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: City Council Considers Community Committee To Study Medical Marijuana
Author: Jackie Iddings
Contact: (805) 226-5714
Photo Credit: None Found
Website: Paso Robles Daily News