Yuba supervisor tough on medical marijuana

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by oltex, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Yuba supervisor tough on medical marijuana
    November 20, 2011 / Ben van der Meer / Appeal-Democrat

    If you want strong opinions from Yuba County Supervisor Andy Vasquez, just mention "prescription for medical marijuana." Using "prescription" and "medical" implies a standard Vasquez said he believes can't be applied for 1996's Proposition 215, which legalized the controlled substance for medical purposes in California. "It was a loosely written law," Vasquez said. "It was passed without a lot of serious scrutiny."

    Vasquez has taken the lead in pushing for more education, and oversight, of marijuana in Yuba County, saying it's harming teens and children and being used in violation of common sense. Next month, at Vasquez's request, a doctor from the county's Health and Human Services Department will make a presentation on marijuana's health effects to the Board of Supervisors. Previously, Vasquez commissioned a report by Yuba County Counsel Angil Morris-Jones on the county's legal options to address medical marijuana.

    But Morris-Jones, in giving the report to county supervisors last week, said the county's options are limited for addressing the issue of minors being prescribed medical marijuana. "It's state law," she said.

    The county continues to investigate, with the possibility of a proposal for supervisors by the end of the year, a possible ordinance on medical marijuana grow sites and how they affect their neighbors.

    Sheriff Steve Durfor, who's working on the ordinance with other county officials, said it's in response to a surge in complaints by neighbors of growing operations legal under Proposition 215. "Their quality of life is being greatly affected by grow sites," Durfor said, adding District Attorney Patrick McGrath and Morris-Jones are looking into how the ordinance can pass legal muster.

    Vasquez said possible restrictions on age and usage are his goal. Going into a Yuba City restaurant bathroom where the smell of marijuana forced it to be aired out, combined with a story of a teen whose predisposition to schizophrenia was exacerbated by marijuana use, he said, make the case for him. "I don't believe anyone has a right to force an intoxicant on someone," he said. "Whether it should be legal, that's a question for lawyers."

    The director for the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said some of Vasquez's stances are out of date. "Use of marijuana by school kids has declined since medical marijuana has passed, and that's been under-publicized," said Dale Gieringer of Cal NORML. He added there's anecdotal evidence from medical professionals of marijuana being helpful in treating medical conditions in teens.

    The upheaval in medical marijuana - seen in everything from ordinance discussions in Yuba County to federal enforcement of drug laws statewide - is because of the conflict between state and federal law on marijuana, Gieringer said. Those problems could be solved if the federal government had less resistance to legalizing the drug, or at least researching its effects on the body.

    But Vasquez said it's an issue where a lack of oversight elsewhere cries out for a local response. "I think we have a right as a county to set up laws to protect citizens if the state won't," he said.

    What are the supervisors legislative capabilities in the AZ state constitution,where does his authority to make laws or regulations come from?

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