cannabisnews.com: OK for Pot in The Park Keeps Santa Cruz Weird





OK for Pot in The Park Keeps Santa Cruz Weird
Posted by CN Staff on September 20, 2007 at 11:49:27 PT
By Jeff Thomas, Mercury News
Source: Mercury News
Santa Cruz, CA -- It's a story that virtually begs for the "only-in-Santa-Cruz" eye-roll treatment - another item in a wave of wackiness over the years that has painted the beach town, fairly or not, as nuttier than a bowl of granola.Only this time, it might actually be true - the "only-in-Santa-Cruz" part, at least. That's because two cherished progressive ideals - smoking bans and medicinal marijuana - have collided in a cloud of, well, smoke.
The city last year banned smoking in two city parks, citing the threat to public health. The city also is on record in support of the local group that distributes medicinal marijuana. That group's annual festival is coming up - noon to 5 p.m., Sept. 29 - and some of the members might need to "medicate" during the festivities. The problem: The festival is in San Lorenzo Park, one of the parks with a no-smoking ban. The solution? Rescind the law for a day. The city passed a unanimous resolution last week to do just that.But wait, don't pack the bong in the backpack just yet."This is not Golden Gate Park, and it's not 1964," said Valerie Corral, co-founder of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana. "It's not going to be a big smoke-out." Small Smoking Tent She said the festival - meant to be a celebration of the support the group has received - will be a no-smoking event. A small tent will be set up for WAMM members to repair to if they need to partake. Others who light up - either tobacco or grass - will be asked to put it out."This event has very little to do with smoking and very much to do with thanking the community," Corral said. There will be food vendors and music, and admission is free. Corral added, "We wanted to go through the system to get the approval to let our members medicate if they need to."She acknowledged that those who don't know much about WAMM might think it's a scam to get around marijuana laws. But WAMM doesn't buy or sell marijuana; it grows and distributes it for free to its 250 members - 80 percent of whom, Corral said, are terminally ill. Lenient AttitudeSanta Cruz police spokesman Zach Friend said there will be no special patrols for the festival. That's probably not surprising, given that city voters in 2006 directed the police to treat pot smoking as its lowest enforcement priority.Which begs the question: If a pot smoker and a cigarette smoker were caught puffing in a park, who would be cited? "Both," Friend said. "It's an ordinance against smoking, period."As for the dangers of second-hand smoking to festival-goers, that's what the tent is for. It will be constructed so the smoke is ventilated up and away from the crowd - to the dismay of some, perhaps.Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)Author:  Jeff Thomas, Mercury NewsPublished: September 20, 2007Copyright: 2007 San Jose Mercury NewsContact: letters mercurynews.comWebsite: http://www.mercurynews.com/Related Article & Web Site:WAMMhttp://www.wamm.org/Santa Cruz Lifts Park Smoking Ban for Festivalhttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread23336.shtml
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on September 20, 2007 at 13:45:21 PT
NPR: Morning Edition
Calif. Town Lifts Smoking Ban for Marijuana Festival
 Morning Edition, September 20, 2007  The California beach town of Santa Cruz bans smoking in its city parks. But that ban is less than two years old. On the other hand, a pot smoking festival (in support of medical marijuana) is 14 years old. With that in mind, the Santa Cruz city council is lifting the smoking ban temporarily.http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14556367
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