California, Tulare

Medical marijuana by county.

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California, Tulare

Postby budman » Sun May 14, 2006 12:03 pm

IndyMedia wrote:Tulare County Action Alert
by Aaron Smith Saturday, May. 13, 2006 at 8:25 PM
fa_smith@yahoo.com

Tulare County Supervisors to vote on medical marijuana ID cards. Please call your supervisor urging them to support this program to protect patients.

Dear Medical Marijuana Supporter,

Next Tuesday, May 16th, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors will be voting on the implementation of the medical marijuana ID card program. The ID cards would be voluntary for patients and caregivers to obtain through the county and serve to further protect them from detainment, arrest or seizure of their medicine by state and local law enforcement.

This is a major step in the right direction towards securing safe and legal access to medical marijuana in Tulare County.

Please find your county supervisor on the list (at bottom of message) and take a few minutes to e-mail and/or call, politely urging them to support the medical marijuana ID card program in Tulare County.

It is also extremely important that we fill the board chambers with patients and advocates backing the program. Please attend Tuesday’s meeting to show your support for safe, legal and hassle-free access to medical marijuana. Feel free to contact me for meeting details.

Board Meeting Time and Location:

Tuesday, May 16th – 9:00am
(this is the first item on the agenda, please show up early)
County Administration Building
2800 West Burrel Avenue
Visalia, CA 93291
Map: http://tinyurl.com/rsdac

*This is a professional meeting; please dress in business or business/casual attire.

Contact information for Tulare County Supervisors:
*District 1, Supervisor Allen Ishida
(Representing the communities of Exeter, Farmersville, Lindsay, Poplar, Strathmore, Three Rivers and a small northeast portion of Visalia)
Email: aishida@co.tulare.ca.us
Phone: (559) 733-6271

*District 2, Supervisor Connie Conway
(Representing the communities of Alpaugh, Earlimart, Pixley, Richgrove, Tipton, Tulare and Woodville)
Email: cconway@co.tulare.ca.us
Phone: (559) 733-6271

*District 3, Supervisor Phillip Cox
(Representing the City of Visalia)
Email: pcox@co.tulare.ca.us
Phone: (559) 733-6271

*District 4, Supervisor Steve Worthley
(Representing the communities of Badger, Cutler, Dinuba, Goshen, Orosi, Woodlake and a small northwest portion of Visalia)
Email: sworthley@co.tulare.ca.us
Phone: (559) 733-6271

*District 5, Supervisor Jim Maples
(Representing the communities of Camp Nelson, Ducor, Kennedy Meadows, Porterville, Posey, Springville and Terra Bella)
Email: jmaples@co.tulare.ca.us
Phone: (559) 733-6271

Thank you for your support of this important program. Once implemented, not only will it reduce patients’ risk, it will also further strengthen California’s decade-old medical marijuana law.

Sincerely,

F. Aaron Smith
Safe Access Now
fa_smith@yahoo.com
Ph: (707) 291-0076
Fax: (866) 204-1341
http://www.safeacccessnow.com



Here are some talking points that you can use when addressing your county supervisor on the ID card issue:

* The ID card protects patients and caregivers from lengthy detainment, arrest, seizure of property or unnecessary court proceedings. While patients are not required to participate in the ID card program, many choose to because they cannot afford the personal risk of wrongful prosecution that those without ID cards face.

* The ID card program will greatly assist law-enforcement in distinguishing patients with legitimate medical marijuana recommendations from those who are using false or counterfeit documentation. The county-administered ID program clarifies the current patchwork of patient documentation and frees our law enforcement and judicial system to focus on genuine criminal activity.

* Voters’ support of safe and legal access to medical marijuana has only grown stronger since the passage of the Compassionate Use Act (Prop. 215) in 1996. According to an independent field poll conducted in 2004, 74% of Californians believe that patients should not be arrested for using marijuana as medicine. The statewide Medical Marijuana ID card program simply provides additional protection to qualified patients and further solidifies our state law and the will of the voters.
Please send a copy of any e-mail messages to me so that I can gauge the impact we have in each county.

* The county will not incur any additional costs by implementing the ID card program because the county is allowed to set its own fees to recoup the start-up and operating costs. For example, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, implemented in 1999, was able to realize a $986,000 budget surplus after two years of operation. This also allowed the state to significantly reduce the fees imposed on patients.

* The county has a legal responsibility to the State of California to implement the program.





www.safeaccessnow.com
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Postby palmspringsbum » Wed May 17, 2006 4:19 pm

The Fresno Bee wrote:Medical marijuana users protected

Tulare County will start a program designed to identify legal pot users.
By Sarah Jimenez / The Fresno Bee

(Updated Wednesday, May 17, 2006, 4:58 AM)

VISALIA — Tulare County became the second Central Valley county Tuesday to start a medical marijuana identification program to protect patients and caregivers from arrest.

Tulare County supervisors unanimously approved beginning the program July 1 and setting a $100 fee to cover operational costs.

Under the identification program, counties compile information from patients, including a photo, and submit it to the state Department of Health Services. The department distributes the ID cards and maintains an Internet database that police can access to confirm status as a legitimate medical marijuana user.

The program is voluntary.

Karen Elliott, administrative specialist with Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency, said applicants can download an application from the California Department of Health Services' Web site or pick one up at a county health office.

Once an application is submitted, applicants must visit the county health office to provide documents — such as a doctor's recommendation — and take a picture.

The cards must be annually renewed and the $100 fee is charged each year, Elliott said. Patients who are eligible for Medi-Cal can have 50% of the fee waived.

The identification program is a result of Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, approved by California voters in November 1996. The law allows patients or their caregivers to possess or cultivate marijuana for medical purposes if they have a doctor's written recommendation.

Under federal law, marijuana use remains illegal, even as medication.

In October 2003, a law was put into place that required the establishment of a statewide ID program for those who qualify and set rules for qualifying patients and caregivers.

Norma Arceo, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health Services, said there is no deadline for counties to implement the program.

The program operates in 19 of California's 58 counties. Kern County is the only Central Valley county now operating the program.

Fresno County officials are considering either hiring a nonprofit organization to operate the program or having the county health department oversee it, said David Luchini, division manager of Fresno County's Department of Communicable Disease.

Luchini said he expected the options and a proposed fee to be presented to Fresno County supervisors sometime in August.

Carol Barney, Madera County public health director, said county counsel is evaluating how the program should be implemented.

Kings County officials are waiting for a ruling in a lawsuit by two California counties that argue the 1996 act and ID program are in conflict with federal law, said Peter Moock, county counsel.

San Diego and San Bernardino counties are a part of the lawsuit filed earlier this year, said Tom Bunton, senior deputy county counsel for San Diego County. Merced County has filed a complaint to join the lawsuit, he said.

The case has not gone before a judge.

Several medical marijuana patients and advocates applauded Tulare County supervisors during Tuesday's public hearing.

"I'm very grateful you're taking the time to give this attention," said Brandon Morse of Visalia.

Morse, 20, said he has suffered from a variety of mental health disorders —including manic depression and bipolar disorder — since 1998 and attempted suicide in 2005. Medications for the disorders caused severe side effects, including feeling physically and mentally unbalanced, he said.

Medical marijuana has helped alleviate those side effects and "made an unbelievable difference in my life," said Morse, whose father, Rick Morse, is the president of the Tulare County chapter of Americans for Safe Access.

David Silva of Tulare said he's been HIV positive for 30 years and uses medical marijuana to "tolerate" medications. He said he "wouldn't be here" without it and was thankful the county moved quickly in starting the program.

Some residents asked if the county would consider lowering the fee for low-income people. Others questioned how nonambulatory patients are expected to appear in person to finalize their identification applications.

Chairman Steve Worthley said the county will evaluate its fee once the program is operating.

"We may find out we've underestimated. We may find out we've overestimated," he said.

Ray Bullick, director of health services for Tulare County, said the county will also wait until the program is operating before considering a "mobile program."

He said there are specific confidentiality requirements that might make a mobile program difficult.

For more information on the Tulare County medical marijuana identification program, call (559) 737-4660.

The reporter can be reached at sjimenez@fresnobee.comor (559) 622-2413.
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Tulare County pot sites in focus

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Nov 27, 2006 12:14 pm

The Fresno Bee wrote:Tulare County pot sites in focus

<span class=postbold>Ordinance would regulate locations of medical dispensaries.</span>

<table class=posttable align=right width=260><tr><td class=postcell>

<span class=postbold>What:</span> Tulare County Planning Commission public hearing on regulation of the location of medical marijuana dispensaries

<span class=postbold>When:</span> Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.

<span class=postbold>Where:</span> Government Plaza, 5961 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia

</td></tr></table>By Sarah Jimenez / The Fresno Bee
11/27/06 05:18:25

VISALIA — Tulare County planning commissioners will consider an ordinance regulating locations of medical marijuana dispensaries during a public hearing Wednesday.

The discussion of such an ordinance comes more than nine months after the Board of Supervisors approved an interim ban on dispensaries opening in unincorporated areas. The board cited a need for more time to create a permanent solution.

The county does not have a licensing ordinance or regulations regarding zoning for medical marijuana dispensaries. The cities of Tulare and Visalia approved such zoning ordinances last year.

Among the issues to be considered by the Planning Commission:<ul class=postlist><li>Appropriate land-use zones for such businesses.</li>

<li>Buffer distances between dispensaries and sensitive land uses, such as schools and parks.</li>

<li>Whether dispensaries should be dispersed or concentrated in the community.</li></ul>Wednesday's public hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

Officials haven't received many inquiries about dispensary applications, said Beverly Cates, chief planner with the county Resource Management Agency.

"I think they just want to be proactive and ready for it," Cates said.

Under state law, patients or their caregivers are allowed to possess or cultivate marijuana for medical purposes if they have a doctor's written recommendation for the drug. The law — also known as the Compassionate Use Act — was approved by California voters in 1996 under Proposition 215.

However, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, even for medical purposes. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that federal agents can enforce the federal prohibition in California or other states with medical marijuana laws.

A handful of local and state medical marijuana advocates urged Tulare County officials to consider a dispensary ordinance during public hearings earlier this year. No one opposed to such an ordinance spoke at those meetings.

F. Aaron Smith, California coordinator with Safe Access Now, said ordinances protect patients and prevent them from turning to the black market for medical marijuana.

"It's much better to have a well-regulated system for distribution of medication for patients, just like any other business," he said.

He said he applauds the county for taking a step toward an ordinance and hopes that it is reasonable.

"We can't have a situation where we say you can use medical marijuana legally but we're not going to have a place where you can get it safely," he said.

<small>The reporter can be reachedat sjimenez@fresnobee.comor(559) 622-2413.</small>

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Tulare Co. wants more data on marijuana dispensaries

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Nov 30, 2006 12:25 pm

The Fresno Bee wrote:Tulare Co. wants more data on marijuana dispensaries

By Sarah Jimenez / The Fresno Bee
11/30/06 04:43:24

VISALIA — Tulare County planning commissioners said Wednesday they needed more expert information and a review of similar ordinances in Visalia and Tulare before they would consider an ordinance regulating where medical marijuana dispensaries can be located.

In a 6-0 vote, the Planning Commission decided to continue a public hearing on a draft ordinance that outlines where medical marijuana dispensaries can operate in unincorporated areas of the county.

The next public hearing is scheduled Dec. 13 at 10 a.m.

The issue drew a small crowd at Wednesday's meeting. Only two people spoke in favor of an ordinance. Both thanked Tulare County for carefully studying the issue before making a decision.

No one spoke against the ordinance.

Under the proposed ordinance, dispensaries would be limited to five nonresidential land-use zones and could not be within 1,000 feet of each other. They also could not be located within 1,000 feet of schools, day-care centers, parks or other areas where minors gather.

In addition, all dispensary windows must be shielded to protect medical marijuana patients and the public, and outdoor signs could not be obtrusive.

A report prepared by county Resource Management Agency staff recommended commissioners delay making a decision because county counsel had not reviewed the ordinance.

California voters approved Proposition 215 — also known as the Compassionate Use Act — in 1996, allowing patients or their caregivers to possess or cultivate marijuana for medical purposes if they have a doctor's written recommendation for the drug.

But under federal law, marijuana remains illegal, even for medical purposes. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that federal agents can enforce the federal prohibition in California or other states with medical marijuana laws.

Tulare County supervisors first took up the issue of dispensaries more than nine months ago. They approved a moratorium on the opening of such facilities until a permanent solution could be created.

On Wednesday, Commissioner John Elliott asked for information on how similar ordinances in Tulare and Visalia are working out. Both cities approved land-use regulations on dispensaries last year.

Commissioner John Millwee questioned whose responsibility it is to make sure someone doesn't visit more than one dispensary and obtain more medical marijuana than allowed.

"That's what worries me ... the abuse of it," he said.

Two medical marijuana advocates assured the commission they wanted to see dispensaries work closely with law enforcement and government officials to prevent abuse.

Rick Morse, president of the Tulare County chapter of Americans for Safe Access, said the county and medical marijuana advocates were close to a compromise on the ordinance.

But he is concerned about "blanket buffer zones" that make many areas unavailable to dispensaries. Morse said he'd also like to see the county consider allowing patients to smoke at dispensaries, which is not allowed under Tulare's and Visalia's ordinances.

Jeff Nunes, who operates the nonprofit Visalia Compassionate Caregivers, said he expected the commission to postpone the public hearing.

"We don't want this to be rushed in any way, shape or form," he said.

<small>The reporter can be reached at sjimenez@fresnobee.com or (559) 622-2413.</small>

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New medical pot rule delayed

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Jan 29, 2007 4:08 pm

The Fresno Bee wrote:New medical pot rule delayed

<span class=postbold>Tulare Co. has 6 more months to write ordinance.</span>

By Sarah Jimenez / The Fresno Bee
01/24/07 04:20:52

VISALIA — Tulare County supervisors extended a nearly 1-year-old moratorium Tuesday on the development of medical marijuana dispensaries, adding six months to the interim ordinance.

In a 4-1 vote, the Board of Supervisors agreed to give county Resource Management Agency staff additional time to come up with an ordinance regulating where medical marijuana dispensaries can be in unincorporated areas.

Supervisor Phil Cox cast the dissenting vote.

The issue originally went before supervisors as an urgency measure in February.

The county had received general inquiries about medical marijuana dispensaries, but no applications had been filed.

The board voted Feb. 7 to prohibit dispensaries in unincorporated areas for 45 days. They extended that interim ordinance a month later by 10 months and 15 days. The last extension expires next month.

The issue has attracted a handful of medical marijuana supporters to public hearings before supervisors and the Planning Commission during the last year. But no one showed up Tuesday to discuss the extension.

Cox said he was bothered that the issue was brought up as a "urgency item" a year ago but a permanent solution still is not in place.

"Obviously, it wasn't quite as urgent as we first thought," he said.

Theresa Szymanis, countywide planning division manager, said RMA staff believe they can finish the ordinance before the latest extension expires in August. But they asked for six months to play it safe.

Jason LoBue, a county planner, said a draft ordinance will go before the Planning Commission on Jan. 31. Medical and legal experts — as requested by the commission — will be on hand to answer questions.

Contacted after the meeting, Rick Morse, president of the Tulare County chapter of Americans for Safe Access, said he hoped the county would have an ordinance in place by now but he understands delays happen.

"It's to our benefit to be patient with the county and let them do what they need to do to make sure this is done right," he said.

If Tulare County approves zoning ordinances, it will join the cities of Tulare and Visalia, which approved regulations in 2005.

Under state law, patients or their caregivers are allowed to possess or cultivate marijuana for medical purposes if they have a doctor's written recommendation for the drug. California voters approved the law — also known as the Compassionate Use Act — in 1996 under Proposition 215.

But under federal law, marijuana remains illegal, regardless of whether it is for medical purposes.

Federal agents can enforce the federal law in California or other states with medical marijuana laws.

In other action, supervisors approved eliminating 38 jobs — 17 of which are vacant — from the Tulare County Workforce Investment Board Inc. because of reduced federal funding. The board is also reducing services with contracted providers.

The budget decrease is a result of a lower unemployment rate in the county and the elimination of agricultural and government workers from an allocation formula.

Human resource officials are working to place the remaining 21 employees in vacant county jobs.

<hr class=postrule>
The reporter can be reached at sjimenez@fresnobee.com or (559) 622-2413.

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Tulare Co. pot decision delayed

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Feb 01, 2007 2:39 pm

The Fresno Bee wrote:
Tulare Co. pot decision delayed

By Sarah Jimenez / The Fresno Bee
02/01/07 05:10:31

VISALIA — Saying they need more information, Tulare County planning commissioners Wednesday again delayed a decision on an ordinance regulating where medical marijuana dispensaries can operate in unincorporated areas.

In a 7-0 vote, commissioners agreed they wanted to hear from law enforcement representatives and a Bay Area medical marijuana expert before considering a dispensary land-use ordinance. They scheduled a 9:30 a.m. public hearing for Feb. 28.

The commission has held three public hearings — including Wednesday's — on the issue since the county Board of Supervisors approved a moratorium on dispensaries nearly a year ago.

Last week, supervisors extended the interim ordinance to August. County Resource Management Agency staff said additional time was needed to determine a permanent solution.

A handful of medical marijuana advocates have showed up at public hearings in the last year and urged county officials to adopt regulations on dispensaries. They say an ordinance would protect patients, caregivers and communities and prevent cannabis abuse.

Several advocates spoke at Wednesday's meeting, including medical marijuana defense attorneys and a local doctor.

Dr. Jeffrey King, who has a Tulare medical practice, said he has been recommending medical marijuana to some patients with serious medical conditions over the past three years. He said it is a "very promising therapeutic treatment" that has a lower risk factor than many prescription drugs.

Of the 200 to 300 medical marijuana patients he has seen in the past few years, only one tested positive for "recreational" drug use, he said.

Ken Clark, a Fresno attorney and medical marijuana patient, said county officials have an obligation to uphold state law.

In 1996, 55.6% of California voters approved Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act. Under the law, patients or their caregivers are allowed to possess or cultivate marijuana for medical purposes if they have a doctor's written recommendation for the drug.

"The people of California democratically voted the [Compassionate Use Act] in," Clark said. "Now, it needs to be put into place."

Officials in several counties and cities across California have weighed the issue of whether to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in their jurisdictions and how to handle a conflict between state and federal law.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, regardless of whether it's for medical use.

Tulare County planning commissioners indicated Wednesday they want to recommend an ordinance to the Board of Supervisors — who have final approval — and are not looking to ban dispensaries.

The reporter can be reached at sjimenez@fresnobee.com or (559) 622-2413.

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County looks to halt establishment of medical marijuana disp

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:24 pm

The Visalia Times-Delta wrote:County looks to halt establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries

The Visalia Times-Delta
January 7, 2008
Staff reports

A measure to temporarily stop the establishment of any new medical marijuana dispensaries in the unincorporated areas of Tulare County could be passed at Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting.

The interim ordinance will put a 45-day moratorium on the establishment of any new dispensaries.

If it is passed, the board can vote to have a public hearing at a later date to extend the moratorium.
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Tulare Co. considering cap on marijuana dispensaries

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:40 pm

The Fresno Bee wrote:Tulare Co. considering cap on marijuana dispensaries

By Erik Lacayo / The Fresno Bee
01/08/08 11:10:35

VISALIA -- The Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted to place a moratorium this morning on future medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas.

The temporary action will allow county staff to study the issue before a Feb. 12 hearing where county supervisors may consider a cap on the number of dispensaries that could operate in county areas.

Currently, six dispensaries operate in unincorporated Tulare County, including one that opened Monday in Tipton, county planner Jason LoBue said.

County officials are concerned the number of dispensaries is excessive because there are only 21 medical marijuana users with county-issued Medical Marijuana Program identification cards.

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County halts marijuana dispensaries

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:49 pm

The Visalia Times-Delta wrote:County halts marijuana dispensaries

The Visalia Times-Delta
January 8, 2008
Staff reports

A 45-day interim ordinance preventing any new medical marijuana dispensaries from being established in the unincorporated areas of Tulare County was voted in unanimously by the board of supervisors Tuesday.

The county cited concerns that these dispensaries can open any where — despite a zoning ordinance that was set on May 1, 2007 — without a way for the county to track them.

Representatives from Goshen and Pixley spoke to the board in public comments and said that such dispensaries are opening in both towns within 1,000 feet of “sensitive use areas” — which include schools and churches with children’s programs.
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Tulare County halts new pot outlets

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:47 pm

The Fresno Bee wrote:Tulare County halts new pot outlets

<span class=postbigbold>45-day moratorium to allow study of limits on medical marijuana sites.</span>

By Erik Lacayo / The Fresno Bee
01/08/08 23:05:33


VISALIA -- The Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to place a 45-day moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries.

County officials have expressed concern over the number of dispensaries that have sprouted in Tulare County during the past year.

Part of that uncertainty is the relatively low number of people who have gotten medical marijuana user cards: 21.

Tuesday's vote does not affect the six dispensaries already operating in unincorporated communities.

The latest dispensary opened Monday in Tipton, and other possible operators have expressed interest in opening more, said county planner Jason LoBue.

Neighboring Fresno and Kings counties do not allow medical marijuana dispensaries, said Rick Morse, president of the Tulare County chapter of Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group.

The temporary ban will allow county staff to study the issue before a Feb. 12 hearing where supervisors may consider capping the number of dispensaries.

Supervisors also are expected to consider making dispensaries apply for special licenses to operate -- a move welcomed by local medical marijuana activists.

"We don't need [dispensaries] to go up that fast," Morse said. "We're just working to make everyone comfortable."

But Morse said he is reluctant to endorse a cap because that would give existing dispensaries a monopoly.

Jeff Nunes, who operates the nonprofit Visalia Compassionate Caregivers, said he has been working with the county for years to find a legitimate way to provide patients a safe place to get medical marijuana.

"We're trying to do it the right way," he said.

But unlike Morse, Nunes said he doesn't oppose the idea of a cap because Tulare County doesn't need to become a "red-light district."

Medical marijuana use is protected under Proposition 215, approved by California voters in 1996.

But marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

County officials approved an ordinance last year creating a 1,000-foot buffer between dispensaries and sensitive areas such as schools, parks and day-care centers.

At least one of the current facilities violates that ordinance.

A dispensary that opened in Goshen recently was cited for being within 1,000 feet of Goshen Elementary School, said Bruce Kendall, the county's code compliance manager.

Kendall said he will wait to see what the Board of Supervisors decides next month before taking action against the dispensary.

County officials also say the number of dispensaries is excessive because of the fewer than two dozen medical marijuana users who have obtained county-issued Medical Marijuana Program identification cards.

But Morse said there are an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 medical marijuana patients using the county's dispensaries.

Many patients didn't get cards because they are not needed to obtain medical marijuana. The cards are only needed to identify users if stopped by police.

Another reason is the cost of a card, which is several hundred dollars.

The dispensaries saw a large increase in clientele after federal agents shut down Kern County facilities last year, Morse said.

Without Tulare County dispensaries, local patients would have to travel to areas such as Alameda or Los Angeles counties for legitimate medical marijuana, Nunes said.

County spokesman Eric Coyne said he doesn't know how Tulare County became the only county in this region with multiple medical marijuana outposts.

"It's not like we rushed forward to be the first on the block with a medical marijuana policy."

The reporter can be reached at elacayo@fresnobee.com or(559) 622-2421.
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County moratorium on medical-marijuana dispensaries extended

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:43 pm

The Visalia Times-Delta wrote:County moratorium on medical-marijuana dispensaries extended

The Visalia Times-Delta
Staff reports
February 12, 2008


A moratorium on the establishment of new medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated Tulare County will last until Jan. 5, 2009.

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted unanimously to extend a recent emergency ordinance to stay the dispensaries. Proponents and opponents of medical marijuana spoke during a public hearing, with many on both sides supporting regulation of the dispensaries.

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Supervisors extend ban on new pot dispensaries

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Feb 21, 2008 11:24 pm

The Visalia Times-Delta wrote:Article published Feb 13, 2008

Supervisors extend ban on new pot dispensaries

The Visalia Times-Delta
BY HILLARY S. MEEKS
hmeeks@visalia.gannett.com

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to extend a moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries.

A recent ordinance was extended until Jan. 5, 2009, or until a regulation process is approved by the board. New regulations likely would follow a business-license approach, said George Finney, the Resource Management Agency's assistant director for planning.

"I'm proud of the supervisors," said Rick Morse, special advocate for Americans for Safe Access. "They're wanting to make sure that this is done right the first time."

A more structured approach to the regulation of medical-marijuana dispensaries appealed both to supervisors and several residents who attended Tuesday's public hearing.

Morse said it's better for those wishing to open dispensaries if regulations are clear-cut. Melanie Mendes, operator of a medical marijuana dispensary in Tipton, said such regulations would have made the opening of her store less confusing.

"I spent three days at the courthouse ... wondering how do I find out if what I'm doing is OK," she said.

Mendes' made sure her business didn't break zoning regulations the board had previously set, including a requirement that dispensaries be located in a commercial or industrial zone. Other restrictions prevented them from being established within 1,000 feet of sensitive-use areas, which include schools, child-care facilities, parks and churches with children's activities.

Mendes invited the board to take a tour of the dispensary to see how it operates.

Lupe Arzola wasn't as successful as Mendes, however. Arzola's dispensary, Good Nature, in Pixley has raised the ire of many Pixley residents, some of whom spoke against his business during Tuesday's hearing.

They claim his business is within 1,000 feet of both a charter school and a preschool program.

"We're very anxious to get business in Pixley," said Louise Rambo, Pixley Town Council member. "But the community — to a person — does not want this dispensary."

She called the current way dispensaries are established "very poorly structured." In that, Rambo and Arzola agree.

"I'm for regulation, if it's going to benefit all the dispensaries," Arzola said.

In other actions, the supervisors:
  • Approved the registration and certification of the Tulare County Professional Firefighters union.
  • Approved the registration of the Government Lawyer's Association of Workers union.
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Visalia man arrested on pot charges released

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:06 am

The Visalia Times-Delta wrote:The Visalia Times-Delta | April 9, 2009

Visalia man arrested on pot charges released

<span class=postbigbold>Visalian was growing pot to treat pain from arthritis</span>

BY DAVID CASTELLON
dcastell@visalia.gannett.com

A week and a half after being released from jail, Richard Daleman still was trying to adjust to freedom after a jury found him not guilty of drug charges.

<table class="posttable" align="right" width="300"><tr><td class="postcell"><img class="postimg" src="bin\daleman_richard.jpg" width="300"><br><span class="postcap">Richard Daleman was arrested for growing marijuana even though he had a doctor's recommendation and was registered by the state to grow it for medicinal purposes. He was tried and acquitted on March 27 after spending months in jail. Daleman and his parrot, Rio, sit in his empty garden where he grew his plants at his home just north of VIsalia. (STEVE R. FUJIMOTO)

</span></td></tr></table>But relief isn't what the 61-year-old man was feeling as he walked around his home north of Visalia. Daleman expressed anger and confusion over his arrest and trial for growing and selling marijuana even though a doctor had recommended that he grow and use the drug to treat his chronic pain.

He had renewed his medical marijuana identification card with the Tulare County Office of Health and Human Services the morning of Dec. 16. Afterward, he came home to find several county sheriff's cars parked in front of his home.

Deputies serving a search warrant reported finding 12.3 pounds of processed marijuana in a variety of jars and large bags that Tulare County prosecutors would bring into court during Daleman's March trial.

He was charged with two counts each of possessing marijuana for sale and cultivating marijuana.

<span class=postbold>Nothing to hide</span>

Deputies had paid an earlier visit in October.

Daleman not only admitted growing the plants, he showed deputies the marijuana he'd recently harvested in his backyard garden, along with several new plants he had beneath grow-lights in a trailer. He was comfortable doing so because in 1996, California voters passed the Compassionate Use of Marijuana Act, which allows those with a doctor's recommendation to possess and grow marijuana.

"I thought I was finally doing something right," he said.

After the December arrest, Daleman would stay in jail — with the exception of a two-day release and re-arrest because of a clerical error in the county's jail system — until the end of his trial in March.

Why he was arrested and tried remains unclear to Daleman, who grew marijuana to treat pain from arthritis in his knees and old injuries to his shoulder and ankle.

Unlike some patients, Daleman didn't smoke the drugs. Instead, he processed it so he could mix it with food or take it in other forms, including as a suppository.

"I didn't use it like drug addicts," he said.

Daleman's Tulare County public defender, Andy Rubinger, said his client was always innocent of the charges.

"He had two recommendations from two separate doctors giving him recommendations to ingest, grow and consume marijuana," Rubinger said.

Daleman was charged with selling marijuana even though sheriff's detectives never offered evidence of any sales, he said.

"They just said he had too much of it [so] he must be a drug dealer," Rubinger said.

Apparently, a jury agreed with Rubinger's arguments. But the lawyer said it was Daleman's sincerity on the witness stand that won the case.

<span class=postbold>Problems far from over</span>

Daleman can't afford standard pain medicines. Judge Darryl Ferguson ordered that 6 pounds of the confiscated marijuana be returned, Daleman said, but the Tulare County District Attorney's Office has blocked his attempts to get it back. All he can afford now is aspirin — not for pain, but because he fears he might suffer a heart attack because of high blood pressure he believes he developed over the stress of being arrested and jailed.

Prosecutors said they aren't trying to keep Daleman from the medication to which he's entitled.

"We're happy to follow whatever the judge orders," Assistant District Attorney Don Gallian said. "We'll be happy to give him back the 6 pounds."

The problem, he said, is that Ferguson ordered that "up to" 6 pounds be returned.

"The defense wants us to pick the best of the 6 pounds," Gallian said. "And we don't do stuff like that."

A hearing is set for April 15 to decide the matter.

<span class=postbold>The government's take</span>

Gallian said he wouldn't comment on why his office prosecuted Daleman despite the doctor's recommendation.

"I really can't go into that because Mr. Daleman has been found not guilty," he said. "We review the facts of the case and we base our decision on what has been presented to us."

The Tulare County Sheriff's Department did not respond Wednesday to a request to discuss cases involving medical marijuana. Daleman said he not only suffers stress and health problems from his time in jail, but also came home to find a foreclosure notice had been issued against his house. He had made a living doing work on building custom cars as well as breeding and selling parrots, but his wife had to sell a large number of his birds at drastically reduced prices in order to make ends meet while he was in jail.

Now, Daleman said, he's trying to negotiate with his lender to save his home.

"I want to sue [the sheriff's department]," he said.

Where it all comes together...
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