County Defers On Marijuana Issue Until June
BY MARIO CONDE
The Imperial County Board of Supervisors did not to take action regarding implementation of Adult Use of Marijuana Act at their regular meeting Tuesday.
The County Board was schedule to have a hearing regarding issues relating to County implementation of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act including local options for enforcement, regulation and taxation. The Board of Supervisors held public forums in El Centro, Calexico, and Brawley to get the community’s input and see how the county would regulate it.
Proposition 64 in California was approved by voters and legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults aged 21 or older, permitting smoking in a private home or at a business licensed for on-site marijuana consumption. An individual is permitted to grow up to six plants with a private home as long as the area is locked and not visible from a public place. Currently, the use, possession, sale, cultivation, and transportation of cannabis are illegal under federal law in the United States. However, the federal government has articulated that if a state passes a law to decriminalize cannabis for recreational or medical use, they can do so, under the condition that a regulation system for cannabis is in place.
California voters approved Proposition 64 with 57% statewide voter approval. However, Imperial County voted 51% against the measure making it one of the ten counties in the State to vote no.
Supervisor Ray Castillo suggested banning the recreational and medical use of marijuana since it would have a negative effect on Imperial Valley since people can hurt themselves and cause a lot of accidents. Castillo spoke about the testimony a person who smoked marijuana and that lead him to other drug addictions.
“To me when you approve something like this even when it’s legal, when you endorse it, there are consequences for that and I don’t want to have this on my conscience.” Supervisor Castillo stated. “Imperial County had 51% of its residents voting against Proposition 64 and I want to respect their will.”
Board Chairman Michael Kelley said that in his years as Chief Probation Officer he can say that recreation use of marijuana is “another road to hell” that destroys families and individuals.
“I’m opposed to the recreational use of marijuana, as far as the medicinal use, that is something that I still need to digest before coming to a final decision.” Chairman Kelley said.
Supervisor Ryan Kelley said he understood their position on this issue but mentioned that the state already made allowable and the county needs to set the rules or the state would take over and the county will not have control over who gets the permits.
County Deputy CEO Andy Horne told the board that the State of California is expected to have their regulations in place by the end of this year.
“We need to make a decision and define what action the county will take and avoid regretting it in the future.” Supervisor Kelley said. “People make choices and have personal responsibilities to decide if they are going to use marijuana or not. I’m in favor of establishing the limits of what can be done in the limits of Imperial County in regards to the cultivation, distribution, and taxation of marijuana.”
Supervisor John Renison said he had no problem with medicinal use but does not support recreational marijuana and asked the board to have Supervisor Luis Plancarte, who was absent on Tuesday, participate so that the five board members can decide.
“I’m afraid that if we don’t take action the state will come and impose something on us we will learn to regret and I don’t what them to decide our destiny.” Renison said.
The County Board decided to table this item and bring it back at the second meeting in June to make a final decision.