Localized Drug Takeback Proposals Move Beyond Bay Area

September 4, 2015

With five Bay Area Counties having now passed drug takeback legislation, proponents are moving on to other parts of the state. Currently, the Counties of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz are in the early stages for legislation, and each is using the template language, coalitions, and experiences from the Bay Area Counties (Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Marin) as models to follow.

Los Angeles County encompasses more than 10 million people – making it the largest county in California, and in actuality, much more populated than many other states in the nation. Several former state lawmakers from Sacramento comprise the five sitting members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, including Democrats Sheila Kuehl, Hilda Solis, and Mark Ridley-Thomas. Two Republican members, Don Knabe and Mike Antonovich (who serves as the Mayor of the Board), round out the five supervisors.

In June, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Mayor Antonovich offered a unanimous motion to begin researching the issue, which was followed by a staff report recommending a Bay Area-like drug takeback proposal. When a new motion was put forward at the August meeting of the Board to guide staff on next steps, Supervisor Knabe submitted a friendly amendment accepted by Mayor Antonovich to prioritize a stakeholder (including industry) process before any further staff action on drafting of language. That amended motion passed 3-0, with Supervisors Hilda Solis (a co-author of the original motion) and Mark Ridley-Thomas abstaining. Dates for stakeholder meetings, in which CLSA will participate, have not been set.

The county of Santa Barbara also unanimously passed a directive to their county Public Works Department earlier this year to research the Bay Area’s ordinances and conduct public outreach. Some community outreach meetings were held during the summer. County staff is expected to bring back their recommendations to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting on Oct. 6.

On Sept. 1, the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors passed, unanimously on their consent agenda, a motion to direct their county staff to research the issue and bring back recommendations for the Board in November. The Santa Cruz County Department of Public Works has plans to hold a stakeholder hearing on Oct. 8. in the Board chambers.

CLSA continues to advocate the industry’s perspective on these matters county by county, and throughout other local government activities. For questions, contact Reese Isbell, CLSA’s Associate Director of Government Relations (