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Medical marijuana advisory board holds first meeting

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The Lake County Medical Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance Advisory Board held its first meeting Monday.

The nine-member board first appointed District 3 Supervisor Denise Rushing as chair of the committee.

One of the first actions the board made was to discuss goals and fears about any prospective medical marijuana ordinance.

“We all have to figure out what we’re willing to give up and find common ground,” District 4 Supervisor Anthony Farrington said.

Rushing said she wanted medical marijuana regulations that were clear and did not impact other existing ordinances, such as the Right to Farm ordinance.

“I don’t want conflicts,” she said.

Member at-large Bill Kearney said his fear was medical marijuana affecting the quality of life for people in the county. He brought up examples of home invasions where marijuana was stolen and large grows in residential areas affecting neighbors.

Physician Robert Rosenthal said patients’ rights to medical marijuana need to be protected.

John Brosnan, one of two medical marijuana growers on the board, said he feared the public would perceive the advisory board to be a sham or waste of time because of a lack of trust in local government.

Patient member Fred Langston said he feared for patient access, especially for those with diseases such as cancer that require large doses using highly concentrated oil that is derived from boiling down large amounts of marijuana.

Don Merrill, the second medical marijuana grower on the board, said regulations for cooperatives need to exist so they can pool together their plants to create concentrated oils for patients who need it.
Community Development Director Rick Coel, who sat in on the meeting, said he was hopeful the committee would come up with meaningful and enforceable regulations. Coel worked for two years on the medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation ordinances that were rescinded by the Board of Supervisors (BOS) in response to the signature-based initiatives.

The members agreed that no person would speak for the entire committee when questioned about any matters. The committee members also agreed to try to get something to the BOS as soon as possible.

Rushing said a “homework assignment” for the group was to look over the rescinded county cultivation ordinance and the proposed Measure D cultivation ordinance and to share thoughts on them at the next meeting.

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