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Jan 20, 2010 1:38 AM by Monica Quintero

A ban on new medical marijuana dispensaries approved for Santa Barbara county

On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved a moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries. Supervisors adopted a temporary ordinance to ban new medical marijuana dispensaries.
It will take effect immediately and be in place for 45 days. The board will then consider an extension next month. If the supervisors extend that ban, it could stay in effect for close to two years. In the meantime, it's always a hot topic that draws strong opinions.

The moratorium is something Dr. Wally Marsh in Lompoc disagrees with. Dr. Marsh said, "They'll be doing a huge disservice to a lot of people in Santa Barbara county."

But Alice Patino has a different perspective. She's the President of Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley, an anti-drug and alcohol coalition. She's also on the Santa Maria city council. Patino said, "The more available that becomes to our youth, the more detrimental it becomes to our youth." She also said it's becoming more of a problem among youth. "Marijuana is not as harmless as people think it is, especially when you see 60-percent of our youth and that is their favorite drug that they become addicted to," said Patino.

On the other hand, Dr. Marsh said it's critical to help people who are sick. Dr Marsh said, "The law was passed because people with AIDS get really sick as you know and they die from it and they lose their appetites. Marijuana's the only drug that allows them to eat and not die of starvation."

Dr. Marsh himself uses it for medical purposes. He disagrees with those who say medical marijuana dispensaries are being abused. At the board of supervisors meeting, a presentation was given. It was reported in California, 31 cities and counties have ordinances that provide for permitting medical marijuana dispensaries.

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