Medical Marijuana Outlets Banned In Some Areas

October 03, 2006

, CBS 2 News

A week after rejecting a proposal to allow medical marijuana dispensaries and cooperatives in some unincorporated areas, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors banned them entirely Tuesday. The perfunctory handling of the 4-1 votes on two ordinance amendments -- Supervisor Roy Wilson was the lone dissenter again -- was a far cry from a week earlier.

On that day medical marijuana advocates stood confidently before the board, anticipating passage of an amendment allowing such facilities in specific unincorporated areas.

Several even told the board members they had a few misgivings about the amendment they presumed was about to pass, wondering if it should be tweaked to accommodate the needs of medical marijuana proponents.

Most were outraged minutes later when four of the five board members voted the main proposal down. As member Jeff Stone, a former pharmacist, put it, "We shouldn't have a dog in this fight."

Stone referred to the tension between California's "compassionate" medical marijuana law, which allow cannabis to be used by certain patients with a doctor's recommendation, and the federal government's blanket prohibition on the sale of marijuana -- one the U.S. Supreme Court backed up last year in Gonzales v. Raich.

The board also was mindful of a "white paper" set out days before by the office of Riverside County District Attorney Grover Task. He expressed the opinion that the U.S. Supreme Court had resolved the question as a matter of law, even if California Attorney General Bill Lockyer -- to whom Trask answers -- disagrees.

Trask, who was elected in 1982 and is the longest-serving district attorney in state history, has since clarified that his office has better ways to use its time than to track down people using marijuana in accordance with California law to treat their medical conditions.

Incorporated cities within the county are free to allow dispensaries within their municipal limits at their own discretion.

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