County will consider one West Marin marijuana dispensary

05/28/2015

Up to three medical marijuana dispensaries could be approved in the unincorporated areas of Marin County under the rules of a proposed ordinance that will be the subject of a public workshop next month. A draft of the ordinance stipulates that only one dispensary would be allowed in each of three geographic zones—the eastern corridor, the northern corridor and West Marin. The storefronts would be restricted to commercially zoned areas at least 600 feet away from schools, parks and “youth-oriented facilities.” The draft ordinance also imposes a number of other limitations, including a requirement that the dispensary entrance be locked at all times and a prohibition against those convicted of felonies, or misdemeanors “involving moral turpitude,” from operating or working in them. The proposed ordinance comes two years after the Marin County Civil Grand Jury criticized waning access to medical marijuana given recent closures of half a dozen dispensaries. (It’s report was wryly titled, “Medical Marijuana: Up in Smoke?”) Last year, the only remaining storefront in the county, located in Corte Madera, closed after the town banned dispensaries. Delivery services in Marin remain, but the grand jury bemoaned the absence of “transparent access” provided by a physical location. California legalized medical marijuana use in 1996 with the Compassionate Use Act, which 73 percent of Marin voters supported, but the law left local governments to regulate access. Many cities and towns have prohibited dispensaries, which are illegal in unincorporated Marin, a fact the grand jury criticized; the group called on local lawmakers to “uphold access” to the medicine, adding, “Compassion without action is not enough.” The county will hold the public workshop on Tuesday, June 9 at 1:30 p.m., in the Board of Supervisor’s Chambers at the Marin County Civic Center, in San Rafael.