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California medical marijuana issues continue to get more complex

Posted on in Drug Crimes

Issues over medical marijuana in California continue to make headlines. Reports over the conflict between California's state law governing medical marijuana and federal laws making pot unlawful per se are frequently in the news. Despite the number of years that California has recognized medpot, interpretation of the law remains a matter of dispute that Santa Cruz criminal defense lawyers continue to champion in court.

But what about more localized rules that tend to modify California marijuana laws? Take, for instance, the recent decision of the Sacramento City Council. The panel debated for roughly two hours Tuesday whether or not to allow outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana within Sacramento's city limits.

At the conclusion of the debate, the council reportedly voted 8-1 to have an ordinance drafted to prohibit outdoor grows, apparently regardless of whether or not the cultivation operation complies with California medical marijuana laws.

City officials claim that legal backyard marijuana grows are a magnet for other crimes, including alleged burglary. To reduce the number of alleged burglaries and other crimes, city officials say that marijuana grows within city limits should be taken indoors.

The council ordered that city staffers should draft a new ordinance outlining the idea-that draft will be out before the council for a final vote sometime in the future.

The city already has a moratorium on granting permits for medpot dispensaries. The moratorium followed the recent federal enforcement efforts aimed at California marijuana dispensaries. The recent vote also included provisions involving restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries within the city.

Opponents of the idea to eliminate backyard grows say that the ordinance will deny patients access to medical marijuana when they need it the most. One resident told the Sacramento Bee that she relies on her backyard plot because she cannot afford to buy medical marijuana.

Source: Sacramento Bee, "City Council favors prohibiting outdoor gardens of medicinal marijuana," Ryan Lillis, Oct. 17, 2012

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