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|3rd Medical Marijuana Dispensary Moratorium Coming Up|
|Date||Tuesday January 26|
|Time||3:15 PM - 3:30 PM|
|Import this event into your personal calendar.|
|At 809 Center St. in Santa Cruz City Council Chambers at the 2nd and last City Council meeting of the year|
|Address||309 Cedar PMB #14B Santa Cruz 95060|
The actual time when the item will hit the agenda is uncertain, since it varies with how long earlier items takes. To be sure to watch or testify, show up at 3:15 PM and be prepared to wait for an hour if necessary.
SANTA CRUZ OWN DRUG WAR AGAINST MARIJUANA
In Santa Cruz, it's not fashionable to actually come out and denounce the right to use marijuana, recreationally and medically.
So instead politicians here vote to thwart the opening of dispensaries, increase marijuana drug busts, and thwart oversight of local police abuses around this. While piously proclaiming they "support" a change in the drug laws nationally. The current "Take Back Santa Cruz" hysteria against "drug dealers" shows this police-orchestrated trend.
CITY COUNCIL MEETING TODAY
Today's City Council will likely rubberstamp Item #10--a hearing and vote on an "emergency" measure to continue the ban for 4 months on new medical marijuana dispensary applications (of which there is curently only one).
EARLIER SURRENDER TO MARIJUANA PROHIBITIONIST FEARS
The Council has already bent over backwards and forwards for the Planning Department's two earlier "emergency" moratoriums in June and July of 2009.
The "emergency" finding is required because there is already a very restrictive zoning ordinance in place that makes it very hard to find places to open dispensaries and allows extensive appeal rights.
I discuss this in more detail in a longer story on indybay at
MORATORIUM BETTER THAN A BAN BUT NOT GOOD ENOUGH
The present moratorium extension is arguably better than the initially proposed straight ban on all new medical marijuana facilities voted 5-2 by the Planning Commission on 11-19.
However it constitutes an effective though temporary ban, which violates both the due process rights of the only remaining applicant and the needs of the community. It also panders to the prejudices and fears of nervous neighbors, Drug War cops, and nervous bureaucrats.
FOLLOWING THE BAD EXAMPLE OF OTHER CITIES
The "moratorium" replicates what is being done in other Calilfornia cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Supporters of the extended moratorium here claim (without evidence) that these shops represent some kind of "danger" instead of both a business opportunity and a medical service.
REPORT AND ORDINANCE
The staff report is at http://22.214.171.124/sirepub/cache/2/tt2zok55nrnnvj55vuyvypj4/224895301262010052617223.PDF .
An earlier staff report by the Planning Department to the Planning Commission was a straight call for a ban. Apparently the staff has changed its position--perhaps because Mayor Rotkin and Councilmember Lane aren't supporting it entirely without clarifying why.
If they need another four months to "study" the issue, they're not saying why (since they came up with a bad position in November and argued it before the Planning Commission).
The wording of the moratorium ordinance is at http://126.96.36.199/sirepub/cache/2/tt2zok55nrnnvj55vuyvypj4/224895401262010054830254.PDF
ABSURD "REEFER MADNESS" CLAIMS
The ordinance makes the preposterous claim that this "emergency" measure is required "for the protection of the public’s health, safety and welfare". This kind of Drug War hysteria gives away the real motivation and mind set of what is going on here.
It's also necessary language because the proposal requires not just a simple majority nor a 2/3 majority of the City Council but 6 out of 7 votes.
The Planning Dept. again seems to be stalling a specific application that would still require extensive hearings and allow for numerous appeals by NIMBY critics for a new dispensary.
I'm hoping to discuss this issue on Free Radio Santa Cruz today 2:30 PM to 5 PM (101.1 FM http://www.freakradio.org) along with earlier homeless street interviews.
I think limiting the number of dispensaries to two particularly impacts poor and homeless people by allowing a two-club monopoly with raised prices. The show may be preempted--in which case I'll be talking about it during my regular show time Thursday 6-8 PM.
I've invited marijuana activist and former City Council candidate Craig Canada (http://www.palmspringsbum.org/medical.html) who also writes an interesting series of articles for (http://www.examiner.com/x-14883-Santa-Cruz-County-Drug-Policy-Examiner) to call in with his analysis.
Canada is an articulate advocate and interesting researcher who has devoted years to this struggle and written about it extensively.
DEMAND THIS MEASURE BE KILLED
Call 420-5020 and demand the ordinance be defeated, allowing the current--but very restrictive--approval process of new medical marijuana dispensary applications (of which there is only one still active) to proceed.
E-mail City Council at citycouncil [at] ci.santa-cruz.ca.us before the meeting today at 3 PM or show up at 809 Center St. to oppose it in person.
MEASURE K HEARING COMING UP THURSDAY
The Measure K (Lowest Enforcement Priority for Marijuana Use by Adults in Private) Commission meets Thursday 1-28 at 5:30 PM in City Council chambers.
Its "agenda" is posted at http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=11774
I have discussed elsewhere why this group is a joke and a deception that provides no oversight of police disregard of the Measure K initiative passed by 64% of the voters.
See http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/06/15/18601743.php as well as "Rump Measure K Committee Excludes Public Comment, Loses Audio Tape" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/01/19/18564535.php