Sonoma May Restrict Marijuana Rules

County to consider cutting possession, cultivation limits

By Chris Roberts
|  Monday, Dec 10, 2012  |  Updated 11:13 AM PDT
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A medical marijuana plant is shown at the Northwest Patient Resource Center medical marijuana dispensary, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Seattle. After voters weighed in on election day, Colorado and Washington became the first states to allow legal pot for recreational use, but they are likely to face resistance from federal regulations. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

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Three pounds is simply too much.

That's the contention of some members of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, who may vote to significantly reign in the county's rules around medical marijuana, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Currently, cultivators of medical cannabis are allowed to have as many as 30 plants and up to three pounds of dried, processed product, according to the newspaper. Supervisors Shirlee Zane and Valerie Brown, who is termed out soon, wants to reduce the limit to six mature and 12 immature plants and no more than an ounce of dried marijuana at any one time, the newspaper reported.

Those are the California minimum standards as set by state law. Counties are allowed to set looser restrictions if they so desire. San Francisco and Alameda counties, for instance, both allow for more than six plants and one once.

For Zane, Sonoma's guidelines are "very permissive" and attract a "lot of people here who want to make a lot of money quick," she told the newspaper. She said the medical cannabis trade is "a very lucrative industry, and it's got a lot of problems."

Restricting medical cannabis cultivation could be Brown's last act in office. Tuesday's Board meeting is the last of the year and the last of her career before she exits office.

Medical cannabis advocates are furious, according to the newspaper. The 2006 law that allowed for 30 plants was crafted in cooperation with law enforcement, the newspaper reported. Advocates also questioned how "making more people illegal" would cut law enforcement costs.

Sonoma County officials spent $2 million investigating marijuana-related cases, of which there has been a steadily-increasing stream over the past few years, the newspaper reported.

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