Pubdate: Thu, 24 Sep 2009
Source: Red Bluff Daily News (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Red Bluff Daily News
Author: Julie Zeeb
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


CORNING - After nearly 90 minutes of listening to both sides of the
debate, the City Council voted 4-1, with Councilwoman Becky Hill
opposed, to extend the interim ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana
dispensaries in Corning.

"We're not arguing the good of marijuana," Mayor Gary Strack said. "We
need time to look at what's going on (in legal cases pending judgment)."

The ordinance was extended for 10 months and 15 days, which would be
Aug. 9, 2010, was passed Aug. 11, days after a business license
application for Tehama Herbal Collective was put in by Ken and Kathy
Prather. The collective opened its doors on Aug. 6.

Hill's opposition to the amendment stemmed from wanting to add the
words "any additional" to the language put forth in a motion by
Councilman John Leach.

Leach's motion prohibits the operation of profit or non-profit
dispensaries, collectives or cooperatives within city limits and calls
for the formation of an ad hoc Committee to discuss the issue.

The committee will consist of Strack, Hill, planning commissioners
Jesse Lopez and Ryan Riley, Planning Director John Stoufer and other
members of the city staff.

"I'm not for it, I'm not against it," Leach said of medical marijuana.
"There's so much to read and understand and the laws are vague. I want
to continue to educate."

Councilman Ross Turner thanked those who addressed the council for
mostly respecting the other speakers before weighing in.

"As far as being loved or hated, I don't give a damn," Turner said. "I
will base my decision on what I feel is best for the community, the
children and residents of the community."

Turner said he is approaching the issue as neutrally as possible and
wants to be educated further before making a decision.

Stoufer said the council should extend the ordinance to give time to
see the results of pending legal cases such as the city of Anaheim
versus Americans for Safe Access, which is being argued starting Wednesday.

"This is obviously a very difficult subject," Stoufer said. "We are
obviously not the only California community. The only unknown is
whether communities can ban collectives."

Ken Prather addressed the council on the Anaheim case saying
California law would prevail.

"I'm not sure why we had to be here," Prather said. "My question is
what is the emergency? There is no emergency. There is no marijuana
mayhem or devil worship going on. We have followed all aspects of
California law."

In addition to providing educational material for the council, the
Prathers pointed out they have let council members come see the
dispensary and left the storefront so it does not offend even those
who accidentally walk in.

Prather said he invited Police Chief Tony Cardenas and officers to
look around and took input on concerns from them and the community,
including the addition of membership numbers on the bags of medical
marijuana to make them traceable and a 24-hour security system to
deter theft.

Opinions from the audience ranged from one man who was completely
against the idea of having a dispensary in town, citing federal laws
to several people who said it was criminal to make seriously ill
patients drive long distances for the only medicine that would help

"I'm opposed to having the dispensary here," said Kim Brown, a high
school teacher who lives in the Corning area, but works elsewhere. "It
will legitimize the use of drugs in the minds of high school students."

Brown said she has seen students with a "perceived injury" start using
medical marijuana, which ruins their lives, and the students deserved

The Prather's daughter, Megan, and son, Jeff, are employed by THC
Megan Prather addressed the crowd, saying without the dispensary
people would be looking elsewhere for their prescription, with some
turning to the streets.

Having a collective in Corning will bring others from out of the
county, which will bring in tax dollars.

Glenn Valioso, a disabled veteran since September 1969, said, while he
did not condone the recreational use of marijuana, he found that after
35 years of trying all kinds of pain medicine, medical marijuana helps
cut the pain so that he can interact with his family.

Vickie Bruton of Corning said using medical marijuana has allowed her
to cut the number of prescription drugs she uses from 45 a day to just

Resident Sandy Powell said medical marijuana could be useful and was
not opposed to seriously ill people using it. Powell said her biggest
concern was having the dispensary located in downtown.

"I believe the majority are not in favor and the majority should
rule," Powell said. "Stand firm and be righteous before God in your

As the discussion on the ordinance came to an end, Kathy and Ken
Prather, along with half a dozen people or more, walked out.

"We're not closing," Kathy Prather said. "We're staying open. Period."
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake