Amador Supervisors nullify medical pot ordinance

June 23, 2005

Terry Grillo, Amador Ledger-Dispatch

“Sometimes we get our priorities mixed up,” said Richard Vinson (Third District) at the Board of Supervisor’s meeting Tuesday. “We permit alcohol and tobacco sales … but medical cannabis that can relieve pain and suffering has to be outlawed.” “Somehow I think we are terribly confused,” he added.

Supervisor Louis Boitano said he agreed with the sentiment of Vinson’s remarks and sees a problem, “but I do want to obey what the Supreme Court says.”

“As an elected official, I suppose I have to vote yes,” said Vinson. “But I do so with the understanding that we will come back to this,” said Vinson. He referred to possible Congressional action that may offer a political remedy to pain sufferers who rely on medical marijuana for relief.

The U.S. Supreme Court rolled over the medical marijuana movement June 7 when they ruled six to three that Congress’ constitutional authority extends to doctor-recommended marijuana consumed under California’s Compassionate Use Act. The Compassionate Use Act, or Proposition 215, was approved by a majority of state voters in 1996.

Following the Supreme Court vote the first week of June, the Amador County Supervisors instructed Planning Department Director Susan Grijalva on June 13 to prepare an emergency ordinance to amend Amador County code and prohibit the operation of medical cannabis dispensaries within the county’s jurisdiction.

She returned with an “Interim Urgency Ordinance amending Chapter 19.94 of the Amador County Code” on June 21.

Despite Supervisor Vinson’s misgivings, the board voted 4-0 (Supervisor Mario Biagi, Fifth District, remains absent) to approve the county code change. The vote makes the ordinance effective in the unincorporated areas of Amador County.

Grijalva told the supervisors that a vote to approve the measure would become “effective immediately.” She added that passage of the interim urgency ordinance begins the process to permanently rescind the possibility of medical marijuana dispensaries being established in areas under the county’s rule.

There are no medical marijuana dispensaries currently operating in the county.

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