FAIRFIELD — Solano County supervisors on Tuesday began following through with their previously stated intention and introduced a law to permanently ban medical marijuana dispensaries from rural areas.
County law as it now stands bans medical marijuana dispensaries in rural areas through July 29. A majority of the board last year wanted that sunset clause while the county explored whether to allow the dispensaries under some conditions.
But in the wake of several county workshops, the Board of Supervisors on Dec. 3, 2013, decided the rural county has no good locations for the dispensaries. It instructed county staff to prepare a law that would remove the sunset clause and make the ban permanent.
Staff came back Tuesday with the proposed law, which supervisors could only introduce at the meeting. They will take the final vote at a subsequent meeting.
Two members of the public spoke in favor of allowing medical marijuana clinics.
“Take a look at Colorado,” said Don Tipton, who lives in a rural area near Vallejo. “People are buying marijuana, getting a better product and a safer product. This is what the county should be doing, looking out for all the residents of the county.”
Supervisor Jim Spering said the issue isn’t banning medical marijuana, but whether to allow dispensaries in the rural county where only 5 percent of the population lives. He’s maintained that such a use serving mainly the urban population should be located in an urban area.
Six of the county’s seven cities have banned medical marijuana dispensaries. The exception is Vallejo.
Repealing the sunset provision won’t be the end of the medical marijuana discussion. Supervisor Skip Thomson has brought up the idea of having mobile medical marijuana dispensaries travel to some rural areas.
Supervisors are to discuss that topic and medical marijuana cultivation at their Feb. 25 meeting.
“We’ll continue to watch the emerging issues and laws involving medical marijuana and marijuana in general,” Resource Management Director Bill Emlen told the board.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.