County cannabis confusion

On August 10, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors says it will explore new ways to crack down on dispensaries while county staff works on a final ordinance.

Last Wednesday, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted to not implement an urgency ordinance regulating medical-cannabis dispensaries and cultivation. This was wise: The county’s first attempt at crafting medical-marijuana laws should be an unhurried and inclusive process.

A few supervisors did, however, express serious concerns about the ubiquity of dispensaries in the region. Supervisor Jimmie Yee even held up a copy of SN&R’s weekly medical-cannabis guide, The 420, and motioned for an all-out ban on collectives, arguing that the clubs are more about kick-starting the “party,” his words, than providing legitimate medicine to patients in need.

This is unreasonable. But it is true that since President Barack Obama’s election in 2008, a new breed of medical-pot collectives have popped up throughout the area, some of which appear less and less engaged in compassionate medical use. Unfortunately, the supervisors have allowed for this boom by dragging their feet and watching from the sidelines as dozens of dispensaries opened shop.

Other California cities and counties, meanwhile, have taken smart, timely action to regard and regulate this growing industry. Sacramento County has done nothing—and now they’re in a pickle.

The supervisors should take a cue from their city of Sacramento contemporaries a few blocks down the road and 1) enact another moratorium, and 2) invite dispensary owners and cultivators to register with the county in good faith.

Police action and code-enforcement crackdown will only foster more uncertainty and new litigation—and of course will harm the thousands of legitimately ill patients who lawfully use medical pot to assuage their symptoms.