Next month, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors will vote on proposed policy intended to increase access to medical marijuana as well as set new regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county.
The new policy looks to slow the proliferation of pot clubs in the area with new regulations that’ll enforce an 800-foot distance between dispensaries. “By forcing medical marijuana facilities to be 800 feet from each other, more patients will have access throughout the county,” Assistant County Planning Director Wanda Williams explained. “We do not want to see an over-concentration of them.”
The policy will also disallow dispensaries from growing on site, require them to maintain proof of non-profit status, release the county from liability of violating state or federal law, and prohibit advertising outside of collective or cooperative membership. It’s too bad there’s nothing about strain hoarding in there as stingy Santa Cruz stoners have some herb that you can’t get anywhere else on the planet. Currently, Santa Cruz allows only two dispensaries. Luckily this policy isn’t setting a maximum number of dispensaries it just outlins rules to regulate ‘em. The vote goes down, March 15.
“My sense about it is that it would be better to have order instead of chaos,” said District 1 supervisor John Leopold, who represents unincorporated communities of Live Oak, Soquel, the Summit area, Santa Cruz Gardens and Carbonera. “We were basically winking and nodding at businesses that were open. The policy of the county was a head in the sand policy, which said they can’t get permits therefore they can’t open. I felt we needed to come up with some rules.”
The Women and Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana was Santa Cruz’s first collective. Their Executive Director, Valerie Corral, is all about this policy combating profiteering. “Profiteering has become the most important issue rather than serving the sick,” Corral said. “It’s a plant — you don’t have to be a genius to grow it. When you get sick, you become financially compromised as well. What happens to many people who are seriously ill is that they can’t pay the high prices.”
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