Pubdate: Fri, 02 Jan 2009
Source: Oakley Press (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Brentwood Press & Publishing Corporation
Author: Dave Roberts
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Oakley cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy who use marijuana to
suppress nausea and stimulate their appetite will continue to have to
drive out of town to legally pick up their leafy medicine.

The council at its Dec. 9 meeting unanimously agreed to ban medical
marijuana dispensaries in Oakley, based on problems the pot clubs have
caused in other cities. Residents with a doctor's authorization will
still be able to possess and grow their own, however.

"This in no way impacts people's right to have marijuana or grow it,
consistent with what state law allows and requires. It simply means
you cannot set up shop," City Attorney Alison Barratt-Green told the

Oakley's ordinance follows a similar ban enacted in Brentwood, Contra
Costa County and numerous cities throughout California.

"We continue to hear stories of the various problems that occur with
these businesses, including crime, blight," said Barratt-Green.

Although growing and possession of marijuana are allowed for
doctor-approved patients in California, "The attorney general's
position is that medical marijuana dispensaries are not covered under
the Compassionate Use Act."

None of the council members commented on the issue before voting to
ban pot clubs in Oakley. Police Chief Chris Thorsen, in a written
report to the council last year before it adopted a temporary ban,
came down strongly against the dispensaries.

He cited numerous problems, including increased loitering and smoking
of marijuana around dispensaries, robberies of dispensary customers
and the dispensaries themselves, increased incidents of people driving
while stoned, sales of marijuana to people without a doctor's
certificate, reselling of marijuana, sales of other drugs in or near
the dispensary and increased property crime in the area.

For two years Thorsen supervised the sheriff's gangs and drugs task
force, which often encountered people who had cannabis club cards who
were either in possession of marijuana for their own use or were
selling it on street corners.

"When asked about their ailments, many were unable to provide any more
detail than a 'bad back' or 'chronic pain,'" Thorsen states in his

"These contacts have led me to believe that these subjects have
obtained a cannabis club card strictly for the purpose of insulating
themselves from prosecution.

"It is my belief that the secondary impacts associated with marijuana
dispensaries are real. Based upon our current staffing levels, it
would be nearly impossible for the Oakley Police Department to
effectively mitigate or monitor increased criminal activity or
negative impacts to the quality of life our citizens enjoy."
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