Pot Clubs Face Scrutiny

  Pot Clubs Face Scrutiny

Posted by CN Staff on February 25, 2005 at 12:30:47 PT
By J.K. Dineen and Adriel Hampton, Staff Writers 
Source: San Francisco Examiner  

Two years after local voters passed a pro-medical marijuana measure, San Francisco may finally update its "see no evil" policy and begin regulating its dozens of dispensaries.The City has seen "an explosion of new medical marijuana clubs," according to Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, a Green Party member who plans a public hearing on an estimated 34 clubs. Health Department records show that from 2003 to 2004, the number of patients requesting medical marijuana ID cards doubled to more than 7,000.
"After seeing the rise of this cottage industry in San Francisco, questions abound as to what The City might do to benefit from this commerce," Mirkarimi said. "I'm not looking in order to infringe on their business, but I want to bring them into the sunshine."Mirkarimi's hearing will address possible licensing fees, zoning requirements, safe access guidelines and consumer protections. Currently, The City allows the clubs to operate in a black-market limbo, free from prosecution or onerous planning hurdles.Jason Beck, who owns the Alternative Herbal Medicine pot club on Haight Street, welcomed the increased scrutiny and regulation."Whatever types of regulation we can impose that benefit the patients would be great and will only provide us with more legitimacy," said Beck, adding that some city clubs simply sell pot for profit, with nothing in the way of patient consultation or care.A business license could also help dispensaries obtain insurance, Beck said, adding that a permitting fee would be a way for the clubs to pay a tax into city coffers.Currently, all an aspiring medical marijuana shopkeeper needs in order to open is a willing property owner. Wayne Justmann, who was the first in line when The City began issuing medical marijuana ID cards, said the time is right for The City to define what constitutes a dispensary.He pointed to a Haight Street smoke shop owner who one day put a medical marijuana sign in the window and started selling pot out of pickle jars."Because you have six pickle jars with cannabis in them, that makes you a cannabis club?" he asked. "I'm offended."HUGE RISE IN DEMANDDemand for medical marijuana has grown sharply since the Health Department began issuing ID cards four years ago.Year: Cards issued 2000: 7542001: 2,0892002: 2,2702003: 3,0852004: 7,014Number of San Francisco cannabis clubs: 34.Regulations: None Number of Oakland cannabis clubs: Four Regulations: Four-club limit within the city, $5,000 to $20,000 licensing fee, zoning, monitoringNote: Proposal would regulate growing S.F. industry.Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)Author: J.K. Dineen and Adriel Hampton, Staff WritersPublished: Friday, February 25, 2005Copyright: 2005 San Francisco ExaminerContact: letters sfexaminer.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Medicinal Cannabis Research Links Would Scatter Area's Marijuana Clinics Clubs Stir Up Residents, Backers

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Comment #6 posted by siege on February 25, 2005 at 15:48:38 PT
Comment #4
We will see this at the Supreme Court before all Bush won't like it .
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on February 25, 2005 at 15:32:01 PT
That's really good!
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Comment #4 posted by siege on February 25, 2005 at 15:26:39 PT
A new bill has been introduced in the Montanta State Legislature which require the County Sheriff be notified before any federal agents are allowed to enter the state with the intention of carrying out law enforcement actions. The bill provides not only for pre-notification, but the Sheriff must also give consent before federal agents may proceed.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 25, 2005 at 13:22:51 PT

Just an Idea
If we could be absolutely sure that Accuracy in Media is stopping the medical marijuana article that was done for AARP I think Michael Moore would post it on his web site. His web site is very popular. I don't have the knowledge to say this is for sure but if someone or some organization can at least think about the idea.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on February 25, 2005 at 12:50:51 PT

Drug War Zealots Pressure AARP 
ASA: Drug War Zealots Pressure AARP The Magazine to Kill Medical Marijuana Story   
Just want to echo DPA's urging for advocates and especially AARP members to write to AARP about this editorial decision. You can see the magazine's website at The writer says that this article was his best work ever on MMJ. 
 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            CONTACT: Tony Newman (646)335-5384February 25, 2004                      Elizabeth Méndez Berry (212) 613-8036 Drug War Zealots Pressure AARP The Magazine to Kill Medical Marijuana Story Latest Censorship Campaign Initiated After AARP-Commissioned Poll Finds 72% of Older Americans Support Medical Marijuana Supporters Rally in Defense of AARP’s Freedom of the Press: “Don’t Give in to Intimidation” At the beginning of February, AARP posted the findings of a poll they had commissioned on medical marijuana on their website. The poll found that 72% of older Americans ( 45 and over) support an adult’s right to use medical marijuana with a physician's recommendation. A December 18th Associated Press article discussing the poll mentioned that AARP The Magazine was scheduled to release an article about medical marijuana in its March/April issue. But when the March/April issue reached subscribers in late January, the article was conspicuously absent. The editors had apparently pulled the article in response to malicious attacks by a "media watchdog" organization, Accuracy in Media, and a pressure campaign by fanatical anti-drug groups with a long history of engaging in malicious and dishonest attacks. “We urge the editors of AARP The Magazine not to cave in to such attacks and to publish the medical marijuana article soon,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Ultimately this issue is not about medical marijuana but whether or not free and open discussion of issues that matter to AARP members will be censored and abandoned in the face of coarse attacks by disreputable forces.” The Drug Policy Alliance is encouraging its supporters (many of whom are also members of AARP), and all believers in freedom of the press, to send letters to AARP urging its leadership to stand firm.   

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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 25, 2005 at 12:33:05 PT

Related Article from The San Francisco Examiner
Feds: S.F. System 'a Joke'By Adriel Hampton, Staff WriterPublished: Friday, February 25, 2005 
Despite widespread public approval for medical marijuana, plans to regulate its sale in San Francisco still violate federal law.Drug Enforcement Agency spokesman Richard Meyer said a lack of raids in San Francisco does not give vendors a license to sell pot.Meanwhile, 30 medical marijuana clubs -- with names such as The Vapor Room, Love Shack and The Kind Sanctuary -- advertise on The City's Health Department Web site. Bud Box Deliveries even provides house calls. 
"The whole system is not only being abused, but it's a joke," Meyer said.Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said The City has to acknowledge the clubs are a thriving business, adding that officials must "figure out a way to regulate and benefit" from medical cannabis.Drug legalization activists said there is a reason the DEA has been soft on medical cannabis in San Francisco: public perception. 
"Every time [DEA agents] bust a club that has support of local officials, they risk a huge backlash and more and more stories in the national press that are unfavorable," said Dan Abrahamson, director of legal affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.The federal government's last high-profile medical marijuana raid here ended with a jail sentence for cannabis guru Ed Rosenthal, which lasted one day.Copyright: 2005 San Francisco Examiner
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