Santa Cruz Lifts Park Smoking Ban for MMJ Festival

Santa Cruz Lifts Park Smoking Ban for MMJ Festival
Posted by CN Staff on September 18, 2007 at 21:23:32 PT
By Shanna McCord, Sentinel Staff Writer
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel 
Santa Cruz, CA --  City leaders have made an exception to the no-smoking rule at parks to allow an annual tradition to continue. The smoking ban, less than two years old, will be lifted temporarily for medical marijuana users to medicate at San Lorenzo Park during next week’s Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana annual festival.
“I think there’s a solid basis for supporting this group,” said Councilman Mike Rotkin, who joined Mayor Emily Reilly in writing the resolution to exempt WAMM from the smoking ban. “They’re pretty selfless folks. It’s not like they’re out there profiting off other people’s medical needs.” WAMM is a cooperative started in 1993 for seriously ill medical marijuana patients to grow and share the plant. The cooperative has about 200 members. The City Council unanimously approved the exemption last week. The smoking ban was created in March 2006 to protect public health and safety at San Lorenzo and Grant Street parks. The ban would have prevented organizers and attendees of WAMM’s Sept. 29 festival from using their medicine, WAMM co-founder Valerie Corral said. Corral spoke with Reilly about her medical concerns about patients not using marijuana while attending the event and didn’t want them to have to stay home. Smoking has been a regular part of the WAMM festival, which has taken place annually for 14 years to raise awareness and funds for medical marijuana issues and celebrate the community’s support for the cooperative Corral started with her husband, Mike Corral. Corral estimated nearly 2,000 people attended last year’s festival. Smoking marijuana takes place inside a tent by a small portion of attendees, she said. “This isn’t Ohio,” Corral said Tuesday. “It makes perfect sense to use medical marijuana in a very discreet and thoughtful manner. This is the way it’s always been and there’s never ever been a remote complaint.” Rotkin said the council would likely make similar exceptions for other groups doing good in the community. He cited the city’s sleeping ban, which prevents camping in city parks, as an example. “If the Boy Scouts wanted to have a sleep out in Harvey West Park, we’d say yes,” Rotkin said. “WAMM falls into that general category.” However, Councilman Ed Porter said he had “mixed feelings” about granting the temporary exemption. The issue was on the council’s consent agenda, a list of items passed without discussion, and was not questioned by the council or public. “If it were publicly discussed, I’d probably have voted no,” Porter said. “I just decided not to be the only one to question it, so I remained silent.” The exemption will be in effect from noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 29. Complete Title: Santa Cruz Lifts Park Smoking Ban for Medical Marijuana FestivalSource: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)Author:  Shanna McCord, Sentinel Staff WriterPublished: September 18, 2007Copyright: 2007 Santa Cruz SentinelContact: editorial santa-cruz.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #4 posted by Truth on September 20, 2007 at 09:42:21 PT
Santa Cruz
I'll be there tonight. I'll have to raise a toasted one in honor of their forward thinking.
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Comment #3 posted by mai_bong_city on September 19, 2007 at 06:42:59 PT
this too
struck me odd - the night before the hempfest was the brewfest. where you could get publicly drunk as you want for cheap, apparently. so folks are encouraged to attend this beer-drinking event in the park, and get intoxicated as they please - but medical marijuana users must be shunned. bah.
though with the DEA presence, no medical user in their right mind would have dared the risk.
it's just no picnic in the park no more.
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Comment #2 posted by mai_bong_city on September 19, 2007 at 06:33:40 PT
our hempfest in the park
was last weekend, and the weirdest thing about it, i'd say, was that medical card holders are not allowed to partake in the park, ever - but smoking cigarettes is allowed - and also? we now have a low-priority law in our city and so technically, non-medical users could light up joints in the park but the sick had to wheel-up to the streets, parked vehicles, and hide away to feel better enough to go back down and participate in the festivities.
the world is upside-down, i fear.
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Comment #1 posted by goneposthole on September 19, 2007 at 02:17:42 PT
Good Lord
Let people be free and smoke some cannabis if they so choose.Anywhere is fine.
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