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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on December 15th, 2015, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 16, Issue 41 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 16, Issue 41

Lompoc to consider new medical marijuana ordinance


Following in the footsteps of other cities in the county, the city of Lompoc was set to consider a new ordinance banning dispensaries and commercial cultivation of medical marijuana at its Dec. 15 meeting 

The result of the vote didn’t come before press time, although the city staff report written by City Attorney Joseph Pannone recommended that the council adopt the ordinance banning medical dispensaries—both fixed and mobile—and cultivation of medical marijuana in all zones. 

Lompoc already banned dispensaries in 2007. However, the newly introduced ordinance comes after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) in October. 

Comprised of three separate bills, Senate Bill 643 and Assembly Bills 266 and 243, the new law is intended to regulate the booming business of medical marijuana in California, which was allowed after the passage of the voter-approved Proposition 215 in 1996.

One of the bills, AB 243, gives local governments a chance to regulate or ban dispensaries and cultivation of medical marijuana by March 1, 2016, or else state law allowing dispensaries and commercial cultivation takes hold.  

So far, Santa Maria and Guadalupe have taken steps to enact such bans ahead of the deadline. 

However, while those cities voted to ban personal cultivation, this may not necessarily be the case in Lompoc. 

Even though a Lompoc city staff report recommended banning cultivation and dispensaries, the same report says adopting an effective ban on cultivation may be “problematic” because the ordinance doesn’t address land-use regulation. 

Since the city’s zoning code doesn’t address the cultivation of medical marijuana, anything that isn’t explicitly allowed under the code is prohibited. 

Because of this, the staff report recommends that the City Council adopt a resolution “affirming the city’s zoning code … such that medical marijuana cultivation is prohibited.”

“Of course, those who carry valid medical marijuana cards will still be able to cultivate and use medical marijuana, as allowed by state law,” the report stated. 

Mobile deliveries from dispensaries outside the city will still be allowed, the report stated.

Banning personal cultivation is controversial, since it wasn’t the intent of AB 243 to “undo” what Proposition 215 does, said Paul Ramey, a spokesman for Assemblyman Jim Wood, author of the bill. 

Proposition 215 doesn’t give patients the right to grow medical marijuana but merely exempts them from criminal prosecution, said Seymour Weisburg, a Santa Barbara-based attorney who sits on the legal board for the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws. 

Other cities and county jurisdictions have faced or are facing lawsuits for their bans on personal cultivation.

According to Ramey, lawmakers intend to draft another bill that eliminates the March 1, 2016, deadline. 

Weisburg told the Sun that bans on personal cultivation could be moot by next year if voters approve a ballot measure that legalizes recreational marijuana.

In addition to that initiative, there’s also one for a constitutional amendment that bars state and local governments from passing laws that restrict a patient’s ability to cultivate marijuana. 

Weekly Poll
Should the county Public Health Department help elementary schools apply for the state’s waiver program?

Yes, that’s what the department is there for.
Schools shouldn’t open at all right now, nevermind with the county’s help.
If the state thinks schools are ready, what’s the problem?
Schools should have to fend for themselves; it shows whether they’re ready to handle reopening.

| Poll Results

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