Cities, Counties Across California Making Key Medical Pot Decisions

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From Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz to Sacramento and San Francisco, a host of cities and regions in California have made some important decisions involving medical marijuana this month.

It’s hard to keep track of what’s going on given the flurry of court rulings, city council votes and other actions taken at the local level. So here are some (though by no means all) of the developments in California this month:

Santa Cruz County: The local board of supervisors voted to freeze the permit process for new dispensaries in an effort to shield county employees from prosecution for supporting a business that the federal government deems illegal.

Fresno County: Officials brushed aside an advisory group’s recommendation to loosen local regulations, instead voting to keep recently adopted rules governing medical marijuana. The new regulations enact a ban on store-front dispensaries and heavily restrict cultivation operations.

Sacramento: City Council members voted to temporarily halt the dispensary permit process until next summer, meaning no new medical marijuana centers will be able to open up for the time being. The move doesn’t affect the three dozen dispensaries that are already in business.

San Diego: A judge ruled that landlords have the right to severe ties with and evict dispensaries from their properties. The decision came after U.S. district attorneys in California warned landlords with MMJ tenants that they could face prosecution if they continue to lease space to these types of operations.

Santa Barbara County: Local supervisors backed a plan to completely ban storefront medical pot dispensaries despite strong support from county planners for an initiative that would have allowed up to seven MMCs in the region.

Murrieta: In an attempt to buy more time to revise its regulations, City Council members passed a resolution to extend a moratorium on dispensaries until Dec. 2.

Corte Madera: The Town Council signed off on a measure to extend a moratorium on new medical pot centers until Nov. 8, 2012, allowing officials to debate the issue and decide whether or not to allow dispensaries in the city.