Supervisors To Debate Marijuana Club Rules

Supervisors To Debate Marijuana Club Rules
Posted by CN Staff on April 11, 2005 at 07:46:09 PT
By Karen Holzmeister, Staff Writers
Source: Daily Review
Calif. -- When it comes to medical marijuana clubs, Alameda County's five supervisors agree that the seven existing dispensaries in unincorporated areas will be reduced in number. However, they can't agree on how many marijuana sales centers are appropriate for communities such as Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview and San Lorenzo.
Supervisors Nate Miley and Scott Haggerty, who have opposite views on the need for clubs, will hash out their differences during a committee meeting today. The full board of supervisors is likely to vote in May on a proposed ordinance to spread marijuana dispensaries throughout unincorporated areas and to tightly regulate their operations. Since supervisors temporarily banned any new clubs in unincorporated areas in October, the number has been capped at the seven clubs that operate in Ashland and Cherryland. Miley, who represents Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview and part of Ashland, supports the five-dispensary recommendation in the ordinance. Haggerty, whose district includes Fremont and east Alameda County, doesn't support any dispensaries, according to aide Josh Thurman, because "he would like to see marijuana distributed through pharmacies and public health facilities." Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker initially backed four dispensaries, but now is convinced that three dispensaries in unincorporated areas would be adequate for patients who are ill and need marijuana for pain or nausea  relief. "The city of Oakland serves a population of 400,000 with a program that allows four dispensaries, and only three of those are currently in operation," explained Lai-Bitker, whose district includes San Lorenzo and part of Ashland. "I simply see no evidence that we would need more centers in our much smaller populated areas." Unincorporated communities in the greater Hayward area have about 140,000 residents. Like Haggerty, Supervisor Gail Steele doesn't favor any dispensaries. She's willing to support a maximum of three but prefers fewer. Steele doubts that many people who obtain an identity card necessary to purchase marijuana are truly ill. "I take a dim view of any proliferation (of dispensaries)," said Steele, whose district includes Hayward and Sunol. "I know people who need it (marijuana). If marijuana was being used for what it's intended, that would be OK. But it's not, and nobody can convince me differently." Rounding out the board, Supervisor Keith Carson, who represents much of north Alameda County, probably "would follow the lead set by the supervisors who represent the unincorporated areas," said aide Lara Bice. Medical marijuana sales are loosely protected by state laws and are illegal under federal law. In 2004, after Oakland reduced the number of clinics within its city limits, most of the dispensaries opened in Ashland and Cherryland without oversight. That's what supervisors want to correct  with the ordinance. Some guidelines exist through state legislation and ordinances in other cities and counties. Proposition 215 in 1996 exempts patients and primary caregivers from criminal prosecution for personal possession and cultivation of marijuana. Senate Bill 420 in 2004 authorized caregivers who provide marijuana to patients to be compensated for costs. It also allows patients to form marijuana cultivation associations or cooperatives. People who want to purchase marijuana must obtain a doctor's certificate of need and then obtain photo identification cards from places such as the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative. When buying marijuana, people age 18 or older must present their driver's license  and the photo ID card. The supervisors' transportation and planning committee will meet at 2 p.m. today at the County Administration Building, 1221 Oak St., fifth floor, Oakland. Source: Daily Review, The (CA)Author: Karen Holzmeister, Staff WritersPublished: April 11, 2005Copyright: 2005 MediaNews Group, Inc.Contact: revlet angnewspapers.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Medicinal Cannabis Research Links Debate on Pot Clubs Smolders Would Scatter Area's Marijuana Clinics
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment