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Santa Maria City Council discusses medical marijuana - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Santa Maria City Council discusses medical marijuana

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Santa Maria is the latest Central Coast city to tackle how medical marijuana should be grown and delivered. The city council will discuss and potentially vote on the issue Tuesday night.

Two months ago, Governor Jerry Brown signed a package of bills called the Medical Marijuana Regulatory and Safety Act to regulate medical marijuana use. The new state legislation would allow private growing of medical marijuana. It would also allow for medical marijuana to be delivered from dispensaries outside of Santa Maria.

The city has until March 1 to come up with its own regulations. Santa Maria already has a law on the books that blocks medical marijuana dispensaries. However, city code does not ban deliveries from outside of town.

According to new state laws, cannabis may be delivered to qualified patients only by dispensaries and only in cities or counties that do not have local laws against medical marijuana deliveries.

Santa Marian Shane Arnold uses medical marijuana for glaucoma.

"I put in eye drops all day long," Arnold said. "But there's no alleviation like the medical marijuana.'

"It's an ocular pressure where the fluid builds up inside of my eyes," Arnold said. "So it's really hard to see and concentrate. On a day-to-day basis, I wake up, my eyes are really watery. If I ingest my medical marijuana, it goes away."

City Councilmember Jack Boysen says he hopes to find a middle ground with the city's medical marijuana policies.

"It's going to be a difficult decision," Boysen said. "I'm going to have a lot of questions for staff."

"I certainly support the prohibition of medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits," Boysen said. "But on the other hand, I also know that medical marijuana has been extremely effective in treating severe pain and side effects of chemotherapy."

"We might as well do it legally," Arnold said. "That's my opinion. Because otherwise there's a criminal element for people just getting cures for their ailments."

Boysen also said public safety is a big concern that council members will keep in mind as they discuss marijuana regulations.

The state is expected to begin issuing licenses to medical marijuana suppliers and distributors in 2018.

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