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Afternoon Vote on New Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ban Coming Up at Tuesday City Council
by Robert Norse ( rnorse3@hotmail. com )
Monday Mar 8th, 2010 9:47 PM
Backing the “Marijuana as Menace” mentality of the Planning Department, Planning Commission, and prior City Council votes, city staff recommends voting for a total ban on any new medical marijuana dispensaries, giving Greenway and Limekiln, the existing two clubs a monopoly status. There is no examination of either club's prices, nor of complaints against the club by low-income customers who have been unsatisfied or turned away. Marijuana clubs are treated as some sort of dangerous hot potato, more lethal than alcohol or tobacco outlets or pharmacies—which vend far more lethal wares.
The Rotkin-Coonerty City Council continues its rightward retrenching by agenda-izing Item #17 Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and Personal Medical Marijuana Use Ordinances. (PL) on the sparsely attended afternoon session 3 PM (probably closer to 3:30 PM or thereafter) on 3-9-10. There will be no evening session. Though the law will have a second reading and vote in two weeks, any meaningful discussion (which is unlikely at this point anyway) needs to happen on the First Reading, since the Council is loath to make changes after it votes the initial law.

The City Council's agenda now officially states that 2 minutes is the standard time period for any discussion. However if you are representing an organization, you should contact Mayor Rotkin by phone (420-5020) or e-mail mrotkin [at] ci.santa-cruz.ca.us) and inform him you want 5 minutes.

Under the New Prohibition, only Limekiln and Greenway, the two existing clubs, are allowed to have grow houses. Limekiln and Greenway both ban ingesting, smoking, vaporizing, or eating medication on the PUBLIC property within 50' of their establishment and throughout Harvey West Park. Greenway has the decency to clarify that this is a City Council-demanded condition. No smoking, ingestion, etc. is allowed on the site—a condition applied to no other medication. This is clearly an absurd application of the Reefer Madness stereotype that marijuana is particularly dangerous.

There is also apparently a City Council legal requirement that the clubs not only revoke purchasing privileges for those who dare to avail themselves of the protections of Proposition 215 and medicate publicly when they need to nearby. They also state they “inform state agencies” for further punitive action, as apparently directed by further City Council requirement (the liberal Rotkin strikes again!).

Cellphones, computers and cameras are banned—a condition not required by City Council's absurd prior ordinances. Homeless customers with backpacks carrying their possessions may be significantly disadvantaged or discouraged by a “no backpacks” requirement.

Though the new law specifically bans any new clubs, it makes doubly sure the horse is dead by specifying the entire city is a banned areas for dispensaries—except for two small zones on Delaware and Harvey West, zones apparently expanded to cater to the bigotry and paranoia of some businesses and residents.

No survey has been done of existing need, i.e. how many patients choose to go outside the city to buy their medicine because of the prices, quality, or policies of the existing clubs. Nor is there any indication of why stats showing a significant number of purchasers come from outside the city has any relevance (why isn't this criteria applied to bars, 7-11s, drug stores, and pharmacies to restrict them?).

The staff report, proposed law, club rules, grim city prohibition map, and a few other items are available on line at http://64.175.136.240/sirepub/pubmtgframe.aspx?meetid=166&doctype=AGENDA .

My previous comments on this Drug Prohibition War attack on medical marijuana can be read at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/01/26/18636269.php (“Moratorium for New Medical Marijuana Shops in SC Just Another "Reefer Madness" Ploy”­).

Some radio discussion of the Council's unanimous vote for extending the temporary ban on new distribution centers can be found at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb100207.mp3 . (about 1/3 of the way through the audio file).
Craig Canada has written some penetrating analysis of the broader medical marijuana situation in his periodic columns at http://www.examiner.com/x-14883-Santa-Cruz-County-Drug-Policy-Examiner and his blog http://www.palmspringsbum.org/medical.html . He hasn't written much this year but hopefully will do so.

Homeless activist Becky Johnson has also written on the subject (and reprinted Craig's most recent article) at http://beckyjohnsononewomantalking.blogspot.com/search/label/medical%20marijuana .
City council can be contacted at http://beckyjohnsononewomantalking.blogspot.com/search/label/medical%20marijuana .

As mentioned above, the actual law needs two readings, so this first quick-and-dirty passage will be followed in two weeks by an inevitable second death knell. In theory, massive citizen protest or better still, direct action (perhaps a smoke in?) might have some impact. Use whatever tools you find most congenial to raise the roof about the New Marijuana Prohibition law coming our way.

For those interested in the City's Measure K Commission's twice-a-year joke meeting, I was informed by Tina Shull, the Prohibitionist fox-in-the-chicken house staffer who really runs the meetings, that their equipment broke down and they have no recording of their last January meeting. Commissioner Anita Henry did announce on air that marijuana busts had gone up significantly in the last six months locally, but the police were not providing reports so that Commissioners could determine if marijuana busts were being made the lowest enforcement priority, as required by the voters in 2006.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Johnny Green
( johnnygreen [at] theweedblog.com ) Tuesday Mar 9th, 2010 10:10 AM
It's sad that ordinances are being used in such a way that it essentially bans dispensaries throughout entire jurisdictions. I'm not an opponent of zoning, if it is in the best interest of the city and keeps certain parts the way they are (or were). But to void state programs under the disguise of zoning is not very cool. It's like I always say, the authorities and/or law enforcement will take advantage of vague rules and laws any chance they get. With case law, state law, local ordinances, and federal law all in on a different page, the citizens get the shaft. If the state is going to approve a program, the least the legislature can do is make sure it is being run properly. Something needs to be done at the state level, or the authorities and/or law enforcement will continue to take advantage of the situation.

Johnny Green
http://www.theweedblog.com
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Mar 9th, 2010 10:44 AM
The law doesn't allow NEW medical marijuana dispensaries, and gives a monopoly to the two existing clubs with all the restrictions written into the prior ordinance. The City Council initially passed the moratorium last summer claiming an emergency.
by TYC
Tuesday Mar 9th, 2010 11:08 AM
What is so hard about understanding the ban will not work? You understand that the country is saturated with cannabis now? Arguing dispensary or no dispensary means nothing if I can still go to my corner convenience store and get anything I want in short order. What is the point of cannabis prohibition if I can get it almost anywhere, almost anytime, and it's cheaper then the last time? All of this hand wringing over 'the children' and 'diversion of use' is laughed at by 'the children' because they know exactly how easy it is to get now without any dispensaries. BTW, the street dealers are starting to deliver in order to gain a little over the competition. So, yeah, go ahead and ban everything, but realize, it's already everywhere. Gotta love the self-righteous, they're making the criminals stinking rich!
by Very tired
Tuesday Mar 9th, 2010 5:59 PM
Still at your slanted reporting game eh? Still trying to create a crisis where none exists, and still planting words/deeds/intentions on your opposition that they've not voiced themselves. (Case in point? Your false claims and ridiculous propostions vis a vis the TBSC event last week. I note you've studiously avoided answering the very specific questions that call you on your game on the thread of that topic. Standard for the course with you, but....I digress).

To the point, this article. You say "Homeless customers with backpacks carrying their possessions may be significantly disadvantaged or discouraged by a “no backpacks” requirement."

Reeaaally? So this would be news or unique because...? As far as I know, its not permitted to take a backpack into a bank, a restaurant, most stores, or virtually ANY commercial enterprise. And that holds true for wandering students, international visitors, members of the Sierra Club on their merry trips, etc.

Is it really news, or a plot against the homeless, that they can't bring their backpacks into a medical marijuana dispensary? I'll propose that it's not. It's nothing more than your typical, tired effort to make every issue in the world a plot devised against the homeless.

I do believe that if you really wanted to help get more dispensaries in this town, that your best help would be to stay quiet and disassociate yourself from the topic. Your endorsement appears to be the kiss of death on most issues in this community, as your reputation precedes you.
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Mar 9th, 2010 9:11 PM
I hope to be playing some tape on the Council meeting Thursday night 6-8 PM. On another issue, former Homeless Services Center Director Doug Loisel will be calling in at 7 PM to discuss another issue considered this afternoon at City Council--whether to spend money to expend the Winter Armory Shelter until April 15th.

The real issue for poor people is having access to medical marijuana (and recreational marijuana for that matter) available at a reasonable cost. That should be near nothing, if it were really legal and not hedged in by the growing number of local restrictions being cooked up by Prohibitionists.

I received an interesting suggestion from a reader:

"I think you should gather the signatures to put a local ballot initiative on the ballot in the next election that lifts the moratorium in Santa Cruz and requires them to follow an "objective" set of criteria that if followed would force them to approve a limited number of dispensary applications (I would focus on 3 more dispensaries to get around objections, and I can help you with the language if you'd like) in specific areas of town. Getting the signatures should be duck soup as the voters are CLEARLY more progressive than Coonerty and Rotkin. In fact, Coonerty and Rotkin pretend to be more liberal than they are when they are running for office, and that is the ONLY reason they are on the Council."

"Rotkin pretends to be a communist, but has a large home with a large swimming pool in Bonny Doon, and acts just like the rest of the rich folks who have these kinds of homes. And we all know about Coonerty. He plays up his law professor creds and a couple of liberal initiatives when he is running for office, and DOWNPLAYS his downtown association and law enforcement ties and distaste for ordinary folks or those struggling to make ends meet."

I like this person's ideas. Can't vouch for the accuracy of his claims re: Rotkin and Coonerty, but their votes on these issues (and those of everyone except Madrigal--and including him on the final vote) stink.

by Hummm
Wednesday Mar 10th, 2010 7:09 PM
Troll alert!!!!