County delays pot rules

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday delayed a decision on a proposal that would have banned outdoor cultivation of medical cannabis, as well as medical pot dispensaries and collectives.

The five-member board unanimously voted to table the ordinance until as late as November, after it will be clear whether the state's 2014 election ballot will include a measure to legalize recreational use of the substance.

All five agreed it would be wasting time and efforts to update the current proposal or scrap it for a new one without knowing how state marijuana laws may change in the coming year, as marijuana advocates are pushing multiple laws to legalize pot in the state either through voter referendum or legislation.

"We don't want to spend a lot of time and a lot of money … trying to go around in circles and then having to change this in November," said board Chairman Evan Royce.

That leaves the local marijuana rules at the status quo, meaning cooperatives and dispensaries are still not allowed to operate in the county, but approved patients or caregivers can grow outdoors within the confines of state law.

The ordinance considered by the board Tuesday would have required cultivation of medical marijuana to remain inside a building on the same property as the approved consumer. Those people would also be allowed to keep up to three pounds of processed cannabis at any given time.

The proposal has been controversial since it became public in January, with detractors saying it limits access, creates hardships and increases expenses for legitimate medical consumers. Opponents have also decried the process of drafting the proposed ordinance, which included a committee made of representatives from county law enforcement, public health and planning departments.

For the full story see today's Union Democrat.

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