Pubdate: Mon, 04 Feb 2008
Source: Marin Independent Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Marin Independent Journal
Author: Richard Halstead
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


Whether the elixir is known as "train wreck" or "Sonoma coma" or 
"purple kush," the advent of a new home delivery service will make it 
easier for Marin's more than 880 medical marijuana patients to get 
their medicine.

"The idea is it's compassionate care. When you're sick you don't feel 
like getting in your car and driving out to Fairfax to get your 
medicine," said J. Allen Rifkind of Sonoma County, a spokesman for We Deliver.

The delivery service is already operational, Rifkind said.

The Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Fairfax is the only 
sanctioned medical marijuana dispensary in Marin. When clubs tried to 
open in other Marin cities, local officials moved swiftly to ban them.

Lynette Shaw, the Marin Alliance's executive director, questioned 
whether the new delivery service has all the necessary approvals.

"I would certainly like people to go through the process that I had 
to endure to be certified and licensed with auditing and oversight. I 
have 84 conditions to be able to dispense medical marijuana safely to 
my patients," Shaw said, referring to her use permit.

While about 4,800 people belong to her club, Shaw said she dispenses 
to only about 800 a month.

Rifkind said that he and most of the other people involved with the 
delivery service are licensed by the state of California as medical 
marijuana care givers and therefore can legally deliver pot to 
legitimate medical marijuana patients. Marin County District Attorney 
Ed Berberian said he didn't know enough about the delivery service to 
comment on its legality. As to whether medical marijuana is being 
delivered legally elsewhere, Berberian said, "I'm not aware that is 
an option that is being used out there, but nothing would surprise me."

To obtain medical marijuana, Marin residents must first get a written 
recommendation from a doctor. They then take that recommendation to 
the county's Department of Health and Human Services, which verifies 
the recommendation with the doctor. The county sends the patient's 
picture to the state, which attaches it a medical marijuana card used 
for buying pot. There were 886 patients registered in Marin at the 
end of fiscal 2007.

Neither the county nor the state retain the patients' names or any 
other personal information. That is because while California voters 
legalized medical marijuana with Proposition 215 in 1996, federal law 
enforcement has never recognized the law's legitimacy.

The Marin Alliance does not make deliveries. Shaw said several years 
ago people posing as Marin Alliance delivery people used the ruse to 
case homes for burglaries.

Rifkind, who said he once delivered for the Marin club, said that is 
a fabrication. Rifkind said he is merely serving as an adviser to a 
Marin couple who are managing the delivery business. The couple, 
however, don't want their identities revealed, Rifkind said.

"He is federally licensed as a real estate agent, and she's an 
attorney," Rifkind said. "Both of them are fearful the federal 
government is going to try to take their licenses if it gets their names."

Rifkind said We Deliver gets its marijuana from the Hayward Patients 
Resource Center, a licensed medical marijuana club in Hayward. The 
pot is being stored at an undisclosed location in San Rafael, he said.

"It comes to us in eight-ounce, pre-sealed packages. There are about 
four different brands," Rifkind said.

Rifkind said he isn't sure where the colorful names for the different 
brands originated. "Train wreck," "Sonoma coma," "purple kush," 
"Chernobyl" and "tuna helper" are just a sampling.

"The names sort of spring up. It becomes a popular thing. Then you 
must carry that brand or everybody is unhappy," Rifkind said.

All of them feature "triple A" potency," Rifkind said. "They get the 
job done. They're designed as pain relief, more than anything else," he said.

They range in price from $40 to $55 for an eighth of an ounce. There 
is a $5 delivery charge on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday - 
but the rest of the week deliveries are free.

Medical marijuana patients can reach We Deliver at 250-7653. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake