Opinion could shift debate from pot to zoning

Let's set aside for the moment the merits of legalized medical marijuana and the dueling zoning bills from County Executive Steve Schuh and Councilman Chris Trumbauer to ban it or regulate it.

Instead, consider the curious opinion from Assistant Attorney General Kathryn M. Rowe on whether Schuh's proposed ban is even legal under state law permitting the growth, distribution, sale and use of medicinal cannabis. In a 2,300-word advisory opinion requested by the chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee, Rowe reviewed the relevant legal precedents that spell out whether a county has the power to ban an activity specifically permitted by the state.

The power of the state to control county zoning may be a side issue, but it is one worth mulling for a moment as a potentially troubling detour. As Rowe's opinion makes clear, it is a debate we've had many times before.

Among her many references,...

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