Medical marijuana ordinance back before board

July 11, 2004

James Tressler, Eureka Times-Standard

EUREKA -- After months of review by a special task force, a Humboldt County ordinance setting guidelines for medical marijuana could be approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The proposed ordinance allows medical marijuana patients to possess up to 3 pounds of processed buds per year, which is the expected yield produced from growing only enough plants to fit within a 100-square-foot area. Qualified patients must obtain an identification card from the county Department of Health and Human Services.

The ordinance applies to the unincorporated areas, meaning its guidelines don't override existing regulations in cities, tribal reservations, state and federal government-owned properties or schools and colleges. Also, the ordinance does not require employers to allow patients to possess or use marijuana during work hours.

The amount of marijuana allowed in the ordinance essentially mirrors prosecution guidelines District Attorney Paul Gallegos introduced shortly after taking office last year.

The ordinance was needed because the state last year passed a law that would have set more restrictive guidelines, but allowed counties and cities to adopt their own policies.

Humboldt County's ordinance was introduced earlier this year, but the board referred it to a task force after law enforcement and educators voiced concerns.

If the board approves the ordinance, it will be set for adoption in August.

The board meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the supervisors' chambers at the county courthouse.

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