Pubdate: Thu, 18 Dec 2008
Source: Arcata Eye (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Arcata Eye
Author: Daniel Mintz
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)


McKINLEYVILLE -- A county permit application for a medical marijuana
collective in McKinleyville has generated immediate opposition and
the most influential opponent is the owner of the property for which
the growing facility is slated.

Stephen Gasparas has submitted a permit application to the county for
The Rose Center, a proposed medical marijuana collective at 1551
Nursery Way in McKinleyville. Allowed under Proposition 215, the 
state's medical marijuana law, a collective is a members-only group
cultivation site for people with cannabis prescriptions. Gasparas'
application states that his collective would not be open to the
public and  would not dispense marijuana.

Gasparas is proposing to use a 5,475 square foot building for
cultivation and he projects a $200,000-per-month income stream. The
application lists a variety of socially-conscious goals, including
use of solar and wind power and donating 10 percent of income to
renewable energy development and five percent toward funding police
officers and firefighters.

But opposition to Gasparas' plan has quickly emerged, none of it more
relevant than that of the Miller Family Partnership, which owns the
would-be cultivation site. Trevor Estlow, the county planner handling
the permit,  said the application is missing an essential item.

"I don't believe (the Miller Family Partnership) was kept in the loop
in the beginning of this and (Gasparas) has yet to get a signature of
the owner of record," he continued. "And until we get that, this is
pretty much dead in the  water."

Gasparas won't get it. The Miller Family released a written statement
on Dec. 12 making that clear. "Today, the Miller Family Partnership
was surprised, even shocked, to discover that an application had been
filed  with the county for the operation of a Proposition 215 
collective on property owned by the Miller Family Partnership," said
Don Miller in the statement.

He added that the lease agreement with K.D. Investments, a limited
liability corporation apparently formed by Gasparas, is for a medical
office and clinic only. Another condition of the lease is that use of
the site complies with state and federal laws, said Miller.

"The cultivation and dispensing of marijuana in any form is contrary
to federal law," he continued. "The cultivation and dispensing of
medical marijuana from the property was not a permitted use under the
lease agreement and the Miller Family Partnership would never agree
to its property being used for such purposes."

Estlow said the site is zoned Community Commercial, and a collective
would be allowed there if a Conditional Use Permit is approved. A
precedent for that has already been set, as the county's Board of
Supervisors approved a permit request for a grow cooperative and 
dispensary in Willow Creek in 2004. That one was for the Humboldt
Patient Resource Center (HPRC), which operates a medical marijuana
dispensary in Arcata.

Danco Property Management leases space to HPRC and two other medical
marijuana dispensaries in Arcata, and Estlow said the company is also
managing the lease to Gasparas for the McKinleyville site. The
application lists Danco's phone number as a contact for the owner.

Messages to Danco and Gasparas were not returned by press

Opposition to the collective was gelling when the Miller Family
released its statement. At the Dec. 9 Board of Supervisors meeting,
McKinleyville resident David Elsebusch vowed to start a community
campaign against Gasparas' plan. "My knee-jerk reaction is not  'no,'
but 'hell no,'" he said. "I don't want it in McKinleyville; they can
go to Arcata if they want, but not in McKinleyville, and I will do
what I can to gather support for opposition."

Gasparas operates the Arcata iCenter, a medical marijuana dispensary
near the intersection of 11th and K streets. Those who follow local
news reports are familiar with his name as his conflicts with City
and  county officials over the sale of Indian food at Sai Om Shree,
which was near the iCenter, were extensively covered.

Gasparas was found guilty of selling the food without a county
permit, but he argued that he was giving it away to clients of his
biofeedback service.

He was sentenced to three years probation, 300 hours of community
service and almost $700 in fines.
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