The following letter was mailed to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors from People Reaching Out, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Pmni Youth Programs, Bridges, Another Choice/Another Chance, Clean and Sober Living, ProProse and the International Faith-Based Coalition.
Date: October 12, 2011
To: Sacramento County Board of Supervisors
From: Marijuana Availability Task Force of Sacramento County
RE: Recommendations on the Cultivation, Distribution and Sales of Medical Marijuana
Problem: While there may be a relatively small number of Sacramento residents who fall within the legitimate domain of the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act, the current situation with extremely widespread and easy access to “medical” marijuana is out of control in Sacramento County. The narrow legitimate intent of the law has been hijacked for nefarious purposes to promote and profit from the cultivation and sale of marijuana. There are too many dispensaries to distribute, and too much cultivation to supply, the needs of any legitimate users of medical marijuana. This situation of readily available marijuana raises a multitude of problems for our communities from health concerns, exposure to youth, and driving under the influence, to criminal violence, property damage and community nuisances.
Therefore, we, the members of the Marijuana Availability Task Force of Sacramento County, urge the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors to:
- Impose a total BAN on all medical marijuana dispensaries in the unincorporated areas of Sacramento County;
- Impose a total BAN on all commercial/industry/collective medical marijuana cultivation in the unincorporated areas of Sacramento County; and
- Conduct a public Board Workshop or Study Hearing to allow the Board and community members to hear and learn about the overall community impacts of the widespread availability of marijuana in our community.
Rationale for Recommendations:
Under the current state law, there are other avenues of legal access for legitimate medical marijuana clients. The Board has held a series of “stakeholder” meetings for medical marijuana collective associations, advocacy groups, and Community Planning Advisory Councils which addressed the regulation and permitting of medical marijuana dispensaries and the cultivation of medical marijuana. But the Board and community has not had the opportunity to learn systematically about the potential community impacts and how to address the potential negative consequences of the widespread availability of medical marijuana on our youth, other sensitive populations, and our community at large. A full Board Hearing would allow us to hear and be informed by a more complete and balanced assessment of the full range of impacts related to the availability of medical marijuana in our community. Topics we would like to have addressed in a Board public hearing include, but are not limited to:
- Health consequences of marijuana
- Driving under the influence
- Impact on youth substance use
- Impact of advertising and promotion of medical marijuana , including youth-oriented ads and products, on the initiation and use of marijuana by underage youth
- Impact of increased availability of marijuana (e.g., reduced price) outside the legitimate medical marijuana market
- Impact of increased criminal and commercial production, distribution and sales of marijuana within and outside county
- Violence related to robberies surrounding dispensaries, “grow” houses and distribution
- Destruction of property from indoor grow operations (e.g., mold, electrical problems/fire hazards)
- Decreased property values in areas of “grow” houses
- Nexus of problems related to locations of dispensaries and grow houses
- Increased community nuisances, including fear of violence, smell of marijuana during growing periods, etc.