Sonoma Supes OK New Medical Pot Guidelines

September 25, 2006

Bay City News Wire, CBS 5

New guidelines were approved by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors today for medical marijuana patients and their care providers.

The board passed a resolution allowing a qualified patient or primary caregiver to possess up to three pounds of dried marijuana per year. Growers may cultivate the pot in an area not to exceed 100 square feet total garden canopy per qualified patient.

Qualified patients and primary caregivers are not allowed to grow more then 30 plants per patient, under the guidelines unanimously approved this morning.

A state statute approved on Jan. 1, 2004 allows counties to establish medical marijuana guidelines and allows the counties to exceed a default threshold of exceed eight ounces of dried marijuana in addition to no more than six mature or 12 immature plants per qualified patient.

Deputy County Counsel Bruce Goldstein said the guidelines were agreed to by the county district attorney's office, the sheriff's department and the county's law enforcement chief's association. The guidelines take effect Nov. 1.

The policy of the district attorney's office is to not prosecute growers of 99 or fewer medical marijuana plants, Goldstein said.

About a dozen speakers weighed in on the guidelines. Some said the 99-plant limit should remain and others said 30 plants and three pounds of marijuana was sufficient for the average patient.

A spokeswoman for the Sonoma Alliance for Medical Marijuana said the organization doesn't care how many plants are allowed as long as a 100-square foot canopy is included in the resolution.

Supervisor Mike Reilly said the resolution is a compromise that continues the county's progressive support of medical marijuana as approved by voters of Proposition 215 in 1996, but does not guarantee growers and patients will not be prosecuted by federal authorities. It is still against federal law to use or possess marijuana.



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