Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jul 2005
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Santa Cruz Sentinel
Author: Shanna McCord, Sentinel staff writer
Cited: Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana ( )
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)


SANTA CRUZ -- Every time Lisa Molyneux makes the 150-mile round-trip
to Oakland to buy medical marijuana, the Boulder Creek resident
wonders why she can't find a safe place to buy closer to home.

Molyneux, diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1997, has relied on
marijuana to ease nausea caused by radiation treatment, and to
stimulate a diminished appetite. Even now, with her cancer in
remission, Molyneux, 45, said she smokes pot a few nights a week to
help her sleep.

All the driving she has done during the past three years has pushed
Molyneux to pursue her own medical marijuana dispensary, an
alternative pharmacy of sorts, to help Santa Cruz County residents
facing the same dilemma.

"The facility we want to open I hope would be an example for the state
to use," she said. "It'll be a place to come and get marijuana without
meeting someone on a street corner."

People with a doctor's prescription could buy marijuana as well as
edibles that include the drug, such as lollipops, ice cream, brownies
and peanut butter, Molyneux said.

Molyneux's dispensary would be the first legal business of its kind in
Santa Cruz, a city sympathetic to the cause.

Medical pot opponents say California's legalization of the drug in
1996 for medical purposes was a deceptive initiative to exploit public
compassion for the sick to legitimize its widespread use, and last
month the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal drug laws supersede
state medical marijuana laws.

A medical marijuana dispensary that opened in February on Pacific
Avenue was quickly shut after city officials learned of its existence.
Pacific Coast Cooperative was operating in a downtown location not
zoned for that type of business. The owners have not pursued another

Molyneux, a broadcast engineer with Fox News Sports in Los Angeles,
filed a formal application for a medical marijuana dispensary with the
city Planning Department in November and has begun paying $5,000
monthly rent on a 4,000- square-foot building in the Harvey West
industrial area.

She plans on using only half the space for the marijuana shop, but was
forced to lease the entire area because another local medical
marijuana organization had proposed taking it and she didn't want to
lose the opportunity, she said.

Ultimately, Molyneux's plan needs City Council approval and hinges on
a recommendation from the city Planning Commission because the
building from which she plans to operate on DuBois Street is 40 feet
too close to Harvey West Park -- a violation of the city's medical
marijuana ordinance.

"We want to be a part of the community," she said. "We don't want to
be a burden."

Ideally, Molyneux said, she'd like to discount the marijuana products
for people on disability and Social Security or provide them for free.

"I really am longing to see a viable business that offers safe and
affordable access to medical marijuana," said Valerie Corral, founder
of Wo/men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, a cooperative of about 200
seriously ill patients started in Santa Cruz in 1993. "WAMM can't
produce the medicine to serve the whole community.

"She's (Molyneux) doing the right thing and I'm glad she's doing

WAMM will stage a march downtown at noon Saturday, which Molyneux
plans to join, to protest the federal government's opposition to
allowing medical use of the drug.

Councilman Tim Fitzmaurice, a medical marijuana supporter, said he's
waiting to form an opinion on Molyneux's business plan until he hears
what the public thinks.

"I'm hoping there's ways we can provide help for people who need this
medicine," Fitzmaurice said Monday. "There is anxiety in the way these
things are operated. I want to make sure the location and the way they
do business is appropriate."
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