Sacramento, Calif., examines ways to shut medical marijuana shops

Fed up with a surge in marijuana dispensaries, Sacramento County supervisors called Tuesday for enhanced measures to shut them down – at least until the county decides whether it wants to permit them.

Sacramento County has been grappling for two years with how to deal with a continuing influx of medical marijuana stores officials say aren't allowed under any county ordinance.

Last January, at least 27 dispensaries were operating in incorporated areas despite orders to close. On Wednesday, supervisors were told that the county's code enforcement division has now served closure notices on 51 marijuana stores.

But despite seeking $60,000 in fines and preparing to take 11 cases to court, county officials said the population of unlicensed dispensaries continues to increase – and there may be 80 or more in the county.

On Wednesday, supervisors voted 4-1 to study remedies, perhaps including giving enhanced resources or funding for legal action to the code enforcement division.

Supervisors, who are considering passing a new law to allow some dispensaries in the county, argued they can't deal with the matter until they first stop the influx and close those operating illegally.

"We've had a proliferation because our ordinance is perceived to be soft," said Supervisor Don Nottoli before the board voted to discuss additional measures Aug. 10 to shutter marijuana stores. "I'm concerned that this thing continues to bloom out of control. We need to take a stand for what's currently in the law in this county."

The supervisors were greeted by a procession of medical marijuana advocates, who argued that the county has made things worse by not approving a plan to allow – and regulate – dispensaries serving legal medical marijuana users.

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