Marijuana dispensaries could be allowed in unincorporated areas

July 20, 2006

Sarah Arnquist, San Luis Obispo Tribune

The county Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on Tuesday to direct staff to draft an ordinance that will allow medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county.

The proposed ordinance would require dispensaries to get a special business license, include certain safety and security provisions and prohibit them from being located within 1,000 feet of any school, recreation center or youth center.

"I really don’t think we are aiding and abetting illegal drug use if we take the proper approach to making this available," said Supervisor James Patterson, who supported the item.

Supervisors Harry Ovitt and Jerry Lenthall dissented.

The dispensaries would sell marijuana to qualified cardholders who receive prescriptions from their physicians.

Several citizens spoke out for and against allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in the county. Opponents’ concerns included encouraging drug use and violating federal law that designates marijuana an illegal substance.

Proponents lauded the medical benefits of marijuana for managing terminal illnesses and chronic pain.

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