County places limits on medical pot sales

December 14, 2004

Marc Benjamin, The Fresno Bee

A plan limiting sales of medical marijuana was approved Tuesday by Fresno County supervisors.

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Supervisors unanimously approved the proposal limiting marijuana dispensaries— locations where medical marijuana can be sold.

Under the rules, a person cannot sell to more than two medical marijuana patients, and dispensary locations in unincorporated communities in Fresno County will be prohibited. No opponents spoke to the proposal.

Sheriff Richard Pierce said all cities in Fresno County are considering adopting similar ordinances. 'One of the problems with this law [allowing medical marijuana] is inconsistent enforcement,' Pierce told the supervisors.

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The ordinance is designed to prohibit sites for commercial distribution of marijuana while safeguarding public health and safety.

Law enforcement agencies have voiced concerns about reports of groups of patients smoking marijuana near dispensaries in other communities and congregating and smoking in nearby parks. Other cities have reported increased numbers of people arriving in their communities to get a doctor's recommendation and drugs.

Earlier this year, a Clovis couple with medical marijuana authorizations were victims of trespassing after high school students saw their plants and climbed into their yard to steal marijuana, police said. The couple took to sleeping outdoors with weapons, police said.

The only opposition to surface in three local hearings on the issue was from a Fresno man who grows medical marijuana for more than two dozen people. He objected to the limits on people he serves.

The county Planning Commission will review the proposed zoning ordinance. But the ordinances supported by supervisors will not prohibit residents with medical authorization from obtaining marijuana.

Under state law, each medical marijuana patient has the right to possess 8 ounces of dried marijuana, six mature plants or 12 immature plants.

The reporter can be reached at mbenjamin@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6166



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