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Today the Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance allowing medical cannabis dispensing collectives to operate there. The ordinance was passed as presented. Supervisors considered the measure at their June 13 meeting, but modified it to protect patient privacy after hearing the concerns of patients.
"The changes the supervisors made help protect patients by requiring law enforcement to have a warrant or court order to copy or seize patient records," said Amanda Brazel, Los Angeles County Field Coordinator for Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation's largest medical marijuana advocacy group. "We are also pleased to see on-site consumption, edibles and inhalation devices will be allowed at dispensing collectives."
ASA patient-advocates were among the more than 35 in attendance at today's meeting. Among the dozen patients who spoke in favor of the ordinance, many thanked the county's attorney for removing the provision that tracked patients' names and their transactions, though some expressed concern about the Sheriff's role in administering business licenses for the dispensing collectives. Speakers noted that there has been no crime involving local collectives in over a year, and the county planning director could administer a zoning ordinance with the same requirements as the one passed today.
"We appreciate the supervisors' willingness to listen to the needs of their citizens," said Kris Hermes, ASA legal director. "Patients in Kern County will have better access to the medicine their doctors recommend thanks to this ordinance."
Kern County join Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Alameda, Calaveras and Santa Clara counties, as well as 24 California cities, in establishing guidelines and regulations for patients to access cannabis through dispensing collectives.
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A national coalition of 30,000 patients, doctors and advocates, Americans for Safe Access is the largest organization working solely to secure the rights of patients and doctors to use marijuana medicinally. To learn more, see www.SafeAccessNow.org