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Board Opts for Wait-and-See Approach on Medical Marijuana Issue

May 05, 2015

The Placer County Board of Supervisors decided today to take a wait-and-see approach on whether to regulate the cultivation of medical marijuana in unincorporated areas of the county.

Board members expressed no interest in banning the cultivation of medical marijuana, but a majority did express a willingness to consider establishing a regulatory framework in the future to deal with concerns expressed by some residents who live near properties where marijuana is grown.

The discussion gave county staff a chance to update board members on citizen concerns, which included a pungent odor during harvest season, potential increases in crime and environmental degradation, among other issues. Staff presented several potential actions that the board could take in response, but did not recommend any option.

The wait-and-see approach favored by the board will allow Placer County to see what action, if any, the state Legislature takes on the issue in the coming months.

Five bills are before the Legislature that seek to address marijuana cultivation. Several propose comprehensive regulatory frameworks for the large-scale cultivation, manufacture, transportation and sale of medical marijuana. In addition, California voters may be asked in November 2016 to consider an initiative that would approve recreational use of marijuana.

A majority of the board expressed interest in considering local regulations after seeing what the state does.

After listening to public testimony from almost 20 people, Supervisor Jack Duran said he didn’t see a need for the board to take action at today’s meeting.

“I’m not convinced there is a true issue at the moment,” he said. “So, I really think we need to do some more homework.”

Supervisors Jim Holmes and Jennifer Montgomery agreed with the wait-and-see approach favored by Supervisor Duran.

Supervisor Robert M. Weygandt emphasized he opposes that approach, saying, “We’re going to be dealing with this issue one way or the other.”

Supervisor Weygandt emphasized he favors looking at potential code enforcement and other rules to regulate conflicts that arise when marijuana is cultivated in urban areas. Afterward, he noted that waiting to deal with the issue prolongs impacts on communities within his district.

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