County of Marin - News Releases - Medical Marijuana Ordinance Workshop

For Immediate Release
June 09, 2015

Public Reflects on Medical Marijuana Draft Ordinance

Supervisors collect feedback about dispensaries in unincorporated areas

San Rafael, CA – Before a standing-room-only crowd, the Marin County Board of Supervisors directed County staff to move forward with plans to prepare an ordinance that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in unincorporated areas of Marin.

A large crowd sits in the Board chambers as the Supervisors speak.A draft ordinance, co-authored by subcommittee members Supervisor Judy Arnold and Supervisor Damon Connolly, was discussed June 9 at a public workshop attended by more than 200 people in the Marin County Civic Center Board Chamber. More than 40 people provided feedback during the meeting’s open time, and all five Supervisors contributed comments about alterations to the draft ordinance. Staff members from the County Counsel and Community Development Agency took notes and plan to work with the subcommittee to refine the draft.

“The big takeaway for me is that at least we have consensus to move forward with further consideration of dispensaries in Marin County,” Connolly said. “… We have a lot to think about, but we are ready to roll up our sleeves and continue to work with all of you.”

The ordinance would limit the number of dispensaries to three within unincorporated Marin – one in each of three defined geographic areas roughly representing the southern, northern and western areas. Issues regarding the County’s application and selection processes, land use and zoning, taxation, fees, leasing and other aspects were addressed in a staff report available on the County’s website. Both Supervisors and members of the public expressed concerns about the locations of potential dispensaries and their proximity to places commonly used by children.

The County expects that costs borne through administering a dispensary ordinance and program would be covered by the application review and monitoring fees, to be established separately by the Board of Supervisors.

Although marijuana is considered an illegal drug by the federal government, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215) ensures that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon receiving a recommendation from a physician. Patients and primary caregivers are exempt from criminal liability for possession and cultivation of marijuana. In 2003, the state Legislature adopted the Medical Marijuana Program to clarify the scope of lawful medical marijuana practices.


David Zaltsman
Deputy County Counsel
Office of the County Counsel

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6127
Email: David Zaltsman