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Modesto Patients Block Ban!, March 16 Sacto CC Mtg
by ASA + Compassionate Coalition
Friday Mar 11th, 2005 10:34 AM
Last night Modesto's medical marijuana patients scored a victory for
the movement, blocking an attempt to permanently ban dispensaries in
the city
Modesto Patients Block Ban!
Last night Modesto's medical marijuana patients scored a victory for
the movement, blocking an attempt to permanently ban dispensaries in
the city! In January, Modesto's Health & Safety Committee recommended
that the city enact an emergency moratorium on dispensarie and
prepare an ordinance to permanently ban dispensaries, as the City of
Rocklin did last year.

At the City Council meeting last night, twenty people spoke in favor
of medical marijuana rights, and only one speaker expressed concerns
about dispensaries. Due to this incredible show of support, the City
Council said that they favor regulating dispensaries rather than
seeking a permanent ban. The Council enacted a 45-day moratorium, and
directed the Health & Safety Committee to work with the patients,
caregivers and community to draft a fair ordinance, and to deal with
the dispensaries already open in the city.

Thanks to all the Modesto patients and supporters who helped to block
the ban!!!
More news online:


March 16th: Compassionate Coalition Meeting in Sacramento - New
Please join The Compassionate Coalition for planning and
information-sharing! Agenda items include: The April 9th California
State Capitol Rally, Dispensary Regulation, and more.

When: March 16th (Wed) at 7:15 PM.
New Location: 2020 16th St., Building C, Sacramento, CA. 95621.


Remember to Connect to The Medical Marijuana Community! Join
patients, dispensaries, caregivers and activists to talk about the
movement! Get connected, give your comments, ask questions and more!
Just click here:


The E-Dispensary - March 9th, 2005
Nathan Sands - nathan [at]
{mailto:nathan [at]}
Peter Keyes - peter [at]
{mailto:peter [at]}

The Compassionate Coalition -

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by who else
Friday Mar 11th, 2005 10:46 AM
Today's article on the City's Council and next week's meeting follows the
short excerpt from the article of 3/2/05.

B. (from a list i am on)

Pub Date: March 2, 2005
Pub Source: Modesto-Bee

Modesto council


The council heard concerns from one citizen about the opening of a medical
marijuana shop in Modesto.

"I never thought I'd see the day when we start looking like Santa Cruz or
San Francisco when it comes to marijuana," David Geer said.

He said he hopes the council "stops it in its tracks," adding: "If folks in
Modesto can keep topless clubs and Hooters out of town, I hope to God we can
keep this out."

At next Tuesday's meeting, the council is expected to consider a ban on
marijuana dispensaries.

Bee staff writer Todd Milbourn can be reached at 578-2339 or
tmilbourn [at]

Pub Date: March 4, 2004
Pub Source" Modesto-Bee

Marijuana bogeyman a convenient target for the council

Last Updated: March 4, 2005, 04:30:32 AM PST

Omigod, hide the women and the children! Lock the doors, draw the shades and
head for the storm cellar.

Wait Š we don't have storm cellars. Anyway, it's an emergency.

Earthquake? Terrorist attack? Flood? A Gray Davis comeback?

Worse: They're selling medical marijuana on McHenry Avenue.

The Modesto City Council has, for more than a year, been casting about for a
moment of self-definition in this post-Sabatino era of red ink, mysterious
firings and declining public interest in their wonderful selves.

Suddenly, here it is - the answer to a politician's prayer, a white horse to
mount and a straw bogeyman to thrash. Don Quixote's valiant steed,
Rocinante, and windmills weep with envy.

Never mind that the sale of medicinal marijuana is, by the expressed will of
the voters of California, legal. Never mind that the store involved has been
conducting its lawful business for several months without fanfare and
without incident. Never mind that three council members (Denny Jackman,
Janice Keating and Will O'Bryant) will be up for re-election this fall.

Never mind anything but this: It is a "red meat" issue for the uninformed
and the fearful, an answer to the "what have you done for me lately?"
question asked by the uncritical.

The council courageously will address the situation on Tuesday, though there
seems to be no truth to the rumor that a screening of "Reefer Madness" will
precede the discussion. It's being fast-tracked, probably to avoid a lot of
public input - those worthies up on the dais do not want a succession of
really ill people coming to the podium and begging them not to do what they
surely are determined to do.

Expect zoning and licensing to be used as weapons to prevent any more such
enterprises from opening. Also expect to hear a carefully selected series of
anecdotes about worrisome problems associated with similar operations
elsewhere. Understanding that this is a subject driven by raw emotion rather
than by logic, expect brave posturings of outrage and concern, accompanied
by rhetoric designed to scare.

Seventeen years ago, in a heated campaign to raise the local sales tax to
build a new jail, former Stanislaus County CEO Phil Rosenberg repeatedly
warned about "Charles Manson lookalikes" just waiting to be released into
the community should the tax measure fail. The voters were neither
frightened nor fooled: The tax increase was defeated and Rosenberg lost his

This could be taken as a cautionary tale about the dangers of inflammatory
eloquence, but the sad fact is that this approach succeeds more often than
it fails.

The sale of doctor-prescribed medicinal marijuana has nothing whatsoever to
do with "dope-smoking druggies," meth labs or "protecting our children," but
it's a better-than-even bet that these and other related hot buttons will be
pushed at Tuesday's council meeting.

Hide, watch and have a healthy supply of cynicism close at hand.

Flint is a Modesto resident. E-mail him at columns [at]

by sorry it took me so long to post
Friday Mar 11th, 2005 10:48 AM
Marijuana shop draws fire
Council will consider ban on retail outlets selling pot for medical reasons

Healthcare Collective reopened Monday at 1009 McHenry Ave. No marijuana
could be seen on display and no signs advertized the drug.

<mailto:metro [at] shop draws fire>By MICHAEL G. MOONEY
Last Updated: March 1, 2005, 04:44:43 AM PST

Over-the-counter marijuana is being sold in Modesto -- all you need is a
California ID and a prescription from a doctor practicing medicine anywhere
in the state.

But how long the marijuana store will last is anyone's guess. The City
Council is expected a week from today to consider an urgency ordinance
banning such marijuana dispensaries.

While state law allows marijuana sales for medicinal purposes, federal law
does not. In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against marijuana sales by
the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative -- but the conflict between state
and federal law remains unsettled.

Monday, city officials seemed surprised to learn that a marijuana
dispensary had opened.

"We had heard rumors a business was getting ready to open, but we had no
name, no exact location," City Attorney Michael Milich said.

California voters legalized marijuana for medicinal use in 1996, and
guidelines for medical marijuana possession took effect Jan. 1, 2004.

California Healthcare Collective Inc., with a business license from the
city, began offering marijuana for sale in October at 304A McHenry Ave.,
just north of Five Points.

Monday, the store opened in a new location: 1009 McHenry Ave., in a strip
mall at Fairmont Avenue, across from the old Elks Lodge.

"Medical cannabis is just one of our all-natural products," store manager
Brannan Lambert said. "We sell natural soaps, candles and flea repellent."

Lambert said the store offers two forms of marijuana: "In extract form,
which is eaten, and grade A medical cannabis in its natural form."

He gave no details about sales or number of customers.

Monday, no marijuana could be seen on display in the store. No signs
advertised the drug. Lettering on the door simply identified the business
by its name: California Healthcare Collective Inc.

Milich said City Hall knew "there was local interest in opening such a

Last fall, a city planner said he had received a telephone call from
someone asking whether the city regulated such retail outlets, also known
as hemp, or cannabis clubs. Cannabis is Latin for marijuana. The planner
said the caller neither identified himself nor followed up with the city.

Lambert, however, said his company has been in regular contact with city
officials and received a business license, allowing it to sell medicinal
marijuana along with other "health care" products.

Joann Bertolotti, the city's customer services supervisor, confirmed Monday
that California Healthcare Collective had received a city business license
but said no one from the company disclosed that it would be selling marijuana.

Had city officials been aware of that, Bertolotti said, "we would have
brought it to the attention of the police department and our city attorney."

Nothing on the company's business license application, City Manager George
Britton said, indicated that marijuana would be offered for sale.

"The business is listed as 'retail sale of health care products,'" Britton
said. "Nothing is reflected on the license that shows it is a cannabis club."

'Not much support for that kind of thing'

Councilman Will O'Bryant, chairman of the City Council's Public Safety
Committee, said the panel last month discussed -- in general terms -- the
sale of marijuana through retail outlets.

"I can tell you, no one at that meeting expressed much support for that
kind of thing," O'Bryant said, adding that the committee had no problem
recommending a ban.

"I think there's probably going to be a fight on this one," he said.
"Modesto is very conservative when it comes to things like that. I think
the people will be behind us on this."

O'Bryant noted that cannabis extract is available in pill form at
pharmacies, so there should be no need for stores selling marijuana.

A Modesto pharmacist confirmed the availability of cannabis extract
prescriptions, to relieve pain and stimulate appetite, usually to cancer
patients. The pills do not cause the euphoria that comes from marijuana,
the pharmacist said.

Milich said the proposed ordinance to ban the retail sale of medicinal
marijuana was just one of several options presented to the committee.

"We've been doing our homework," Milich said. "We have been talking to
cities who have (retail outlets) that dispense medical marijuana about the
criminal problems associated with that."

Those problems, according to Milich, range from:

"People standing around outside the facility and smoking marijuana in
public" to "patients being robbed of their marijuana as they leave the
facility" to "patients selling marijuana to nonpatients."

Milich continued: "We're not saying that's the case here. (But) we think
there are enough documented cases of criminal behavior that would justify
banning (retail marijuana outlets) in Modesto."

Bee staff writer Michael G. Mooney can be reached at 578-2384 or
<mailto:>mmooney [at]


In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use
Act, legalizing marijuana for medical use. Prop. 215 permits seriously ill
patients to use marijuana, provided they have doctor recommendations. The
proposition put California law in direct conflict with federal law, and
litigation is ongoing.

Source: Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California
at Berkeley

On the Net:

by also me
Friday Mar 11th, 2005 10:49 AM
45-day ban on new pot stores
Modesto City Council declares existing medical marijuana facility exempt
from emergency ordinance

< [at]
ban on new pot stores>By TODD MILBOURN
Last Updated: March 9, 2005, 05:35:42 AM PST

An emergency ordinance approved Tuesday night prohibits new medical
marijuana stores in Modesto for 45 days ­ but does not affect a pot store
that's operating in a strip mall on McHenry Avenue.

At a hearing that featured impassioned pleas from patients who use
marijuana, council members voted 6-0 in favor of the temporary ban, saying
it would give them time to figure out how to best regulate such stores.

"Our concern is not about the medical use of mari-juana," Councilman Brad
Hawn said, "but the potential issues around that."

Patients still will be able to get their marijuana prescriptions filled at
the California Healthcare Collective, which moved to the strip mall last
week after several months of quiet operation in a McHenry Avenue store
closer to downtown.

California voters, by approving Proposition 215 in 1996, gave people the
right to secure prescription marijuana to alleviate pain.

No council member challenged that right. Instead, council members said they
wanted to find the best way to handle marijuana stores in the community.

"I don't want one next to a park, next to a church, next to a school,"
Councilman Garrad Marsh said.

After the hearing, several opponents of the ban said they were disappointed
with the council's action but felt it was something they could live with.

Laura Bell of Modesto said she's fine with the city regulating, policing
and taxing such stores. "But when you're making these decisions, just don't
think of these people as all teens hanging out on the corner. Think about
that grandmother lying in bed who needs it to cope," she said.

Robert Blanchard of Ceres, who suffered a neck injury and uses a
wheelchair, said the availability of legal pot in Modesto keeps him and
others from having to drive to the Bay Area for their prescriptions.
Blanchard said he receives more relief from smoking marijuana than popping
an array of pills.

"These pills rot my stomach," Blanchard said. "Not taking them means I
might live longer."

City Council members reviewed a report from the police chief of Rocklin, in
Placer County, who suggested crimes such as the illegal sale of marijuana
sprout near medical marijuana facilities. In June, Rocklin approved a
permanent ban against such shops.

Councilman Will O'Bryant, who initially was critical of Modesto's temporary
ban but later voted for it, said he was skeptical that California
Healthcare Collective posed a major threat to city order.

"What is the emergency here?" he asked. "How many riots have we had, how
many robberies have we had?"

While several nearby busi-nesses have complained about parking and
loitering, no reports of major incidents were relayed to the council
Tuesday night.

O'Bryant said the city is partly to blame for doling out business licenses
to medical marijuana facilities in the first place. He also said the city
would be wise to spend its time dealing with more pressing matters, such as
taxes and transportation.

The vote directed city staff to send the council a report in 35 days that
outlines how the city best could handle the location and regulation of such

For all the emotion of Tuesday's hearing, the debate might soon be rendered
moot by the U.S. Supreme Court. In November, justices heard arguments on
medical marijuana in California, and are expected to issue a decision
within months. Federal law prohibits marijuana use for any purpose.

Medical marijuana shops are common in coastal California ­ there are nearly
50 in San Francisco alone, said Dane Wilkins of Northern California NORML,
the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

But few have taken root in the San Joaquin Valley, which has a tradition of
social conservatism, he said. Wilkins said there are two in Merced County;
one in San Joaquin County; and none in Tuolumne County.

Opponents of the Modesto ban said at least two other medical marijuana
shops had obtained business licenses but had not yet opened.

City Council members said they would meet with representatives of those
businesses and consider exceptions to the 45-day ban.

Mayor Jim Ridenour missed the meeting. He is in Washington, D.C., on a
lobbying trip.

In other action, the council voted 6-0 to:

Rezone nearly 20 acres of vineyards along Maze Boulevard for construction
of a new church and ministries building for St. Stanislaus Catholic Church.
The Rev. Bill McDonald said the new facilities "will be a beautiful
addition to our side of the tracks ­ west Modesto."

Approve a two-year strategy to balance the city's budget. The effort is
likely to include hefty across-the-board cuts, affecting even the Police
and Fire departments, officials said. The budget is due to be ironed out
during coming hearings.

Bee staff writer Todd Milbourn can be reached at 578-2339 or
< [at]>tmilbourn [at]