L.A. County Bans Medical Marijuana Growing in Unincorporated Areas

Medical Marijuana (David McNew / Getty)
David McNew / Getty

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to ban medical marijuana cultivation in the county’s unincorporated areas temporarily.

In a 4-0 decision (with one abstention), the supervisors voted to temporarily ban all “cultivation, manufacturing, laboratory testing, and distribution of medical marijuana.” The ban is set to expire in 45 days, but could be extended for up to two years with another vote.

During that 45-day period, zoning officials will examine the impact of medical marijuana cultivation on county communities, including a look at whether crime rates or environmental interests will be affected, according to mynewsLA.

Outgoing L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich reportedly recommended the ban and the study in February.

The move comes in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s enactment of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act earlier this year, which set up the first statewide framework for the regulation and taxation of medical marijuana in California. For nearly two decades, cities and communities across the Golden State had set their own ordinances governing the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana dispensaries have been banned from operating in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County since 2011.

The county’s move stands in stark contrast to other areas of the state, including the desert city of Adelanto, which became the second city in California to legalize commercial marijuana cultivation in November. More than two dozen companies have secured permits to grow medical marijuana in the city, which could contribute up to $12 million in tax revenue per year to the financially-stressed region.

Competition in the marijuana industry is expected to intensify ahead of the November election, when California could become the fifth state in the nation to legalize the drug for recreational use. A number of recreational legalization ballot measures are currently collecting signatures across the state, but none so far have qualified for inclusion on the 2016 ballot.

Photo: file

Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum


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