Supervisors delay vote on medical marijuana ordinance

May 24, 2005

Michelle Maitre, Daily Review

Alameda County supervisors on Tuesday delayed a vote on an ordinance that would regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas.

Supervisor Nate Miley pushed for the two-week postponement to give the public more time to review the controversial ordinance. It calls for no more than five dispensaries — down from the current seven — in unincorporated areas of Castro Valley, Ashland, Cherryland and San Lorenzo, and enforces regulations on permitting, hours of operation, yet-to-be determined operation fees and other issues.

The ordinance is expected to come before the board again on June 7 for a first reading and vote, but the delay will push the board close to a June 17 deadline set by Sheriff Charles Plummer, who has said he will start enforcing federal law and shut down the dispensaries unless the county has an enforceable ordinance in place.

In an interview after the meeting, Plummer said he's willing to extend the deadline, as long as supervisors take a vote in two weeks that demonstrates a good-faith effort to move ahead.

If the board doesn't pass the ordinance at the first reading, the department will move against the dispensaries, Plummer said.

Instead of taking a vote Tuesday, the board heard more than two hours of public comment and a wide variety of views on the proposed ordinance, including comment from Oakland resident Angel Raich, a plaintiff in a case before the U.S.Supreme Court that challenges the federal government's raids against

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