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Medical marijuana users protest over proposal

February 3, 2011 12:41:13 AM PST
People lit up outside a San Bernardino County government center, protesting a cannabis dispensary ban.

The move comes as the county planning commission has reviewed reports that find neighborhood dispensaries attract crime, from theft to homicide.

The findings are one reason why residents in Skyforest don't want one in their community. Skyforest is an unincorporated community in San Bernardino County.

"What I'm going to recommend today is that if they want to have the dispensary, that they keep it 1,000 feet away from the school bus stop," said William Abell.

The planning commission voted Thursday to delay voting on the issue until a Feb. 17 meeting.

was expected to vote Thursday. If it is passed, the ban would go to the board of supervisors for their approval.

While the federal government says marijuana is illegal, California voters have passed initiatives that allow people to grow and use pot for personal medical use.

Many areas have imposed bans, including Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties.

The proposal would only allow medical marijuana distribution through hospitals and certain approved facilities. It would also expand the current moratorium on new dispensaries.

Another controversial element of the proposal is that if someone were to grow marijuana for personal use, it would have to be grown indoors. Outdoor cultivation would not be allowed.

Opponents say it would be so inconvenient that users would be forced to go underground to illegal dealers. They also argue that it would be a violation of their rights to access marijuana.

Dave Ele, a neuropathy and diabetes patient, said marijuana has helped him.

"It's like a light switch almost. It reacts to my condition almost within minutes instead of chasing it with opium," he said.

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