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County council considers medical marijuana regulations

The St. Charles County Council discussed the issue of medical marijuana in a work session before its regular meeting on July 8. The work session dealt with Bill No. 4743, proposed by council member John White [District 7], which would establish medical marijuana land use and safety regulations.

Regardless of the statewide referendum, which St. Charles County voters approved in higher proportions than voters in most state counties, restrictions on marijuana use still exist.

At the July 8 meeting, county attorney John Watson briefed the council members on the new rules. Watson reminded the council that marijuana is still a controlled substance, and thus, is technically illegal and subject to restriction, with abusers in violation of criminal laws and subject to penalties. However, under federal law, the U.S. Department of Justice cannot interfere with states on this issue. States, while they can regulate the use and the pricing of medical marijuana, are not allowed to tax the substance, due to the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Watson and his staff spelled out the procedure for applying for medical marijuana permits as well as the types of medical conditions that would qualify a patient for this type of treatment. They also discussed the possibility of statewide ID Cards for patients, possible penalties for violators of the law, and whether those penalties would be county or state regulations.

Council member Joe Cronin [District 1] suggested that the council had a lot of work to do if they expected to pass the ordinance at the next regularly scheduled meeting on July 29.

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