Pubdate: Wed, 30 Dec 2009
Source: Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Press-Enterprise Company
Author: Alicia Robinson
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Cited: Inland Valley Drug Free Community Coalition (


Riverside medical marijuana clinic manager Lanny  Swerdlow says he 
just wants to throw a private,  alcohol-free New Year's Eve 
celebration for patients.

But to one Inland anti-drug group, Swerdlow's private  party is a 
thinly disguised illegal drug bash, and the  group has pressed that 
assertion by filing a complaint  with the state attorney general.

The party, which is only for medical marijuana  patients, will be 
held tonight at the THCF Medical  Clinic and Patient Center, where 
patients can seek a  doctor's recommendation for marijuana but not 
obtain  the drug.

Swerdlow said Wednesday in a phone interview he's  expecting about 50 
to 60 people to attend the event. He  won't offer live entertainment 
because that requires a  city permit he doesn't have, he said.

Patients who show a valid recommendation will get a  wristband and 
can use marijuana that they bring to the  party, Swerdlow said. Any 
non-patients must be guests  of a patient and will not be permitted 
to use  marijuana.

"Instead of having people go to parties with alcohol,  these are 
patients that are going to be using  cannabis," Swerdlow said.

Swerdlow said he knows the city is watching him  closely, and that's 
frustrating because there are so  many other New Year's parties 
planned, and his will not  include alcohol, which he considers much 
more  dangerous.

But Inland anti-drug activists don't see Swerdlow's  party as a 
harmless alternative to the traditional  champagne toast. Paul 
Chabot, an adviser with the  150-member Inland Valley Drug Free 
Community Coalition  and a state Assembly candidate, said he was 
"shocked at the audacity" of party organizers, "but we're 
not  surprised because this has been their intent all along,  which 
is to promote drug usage."

Chabot said by phone the coalition is mainly concerned  that young 
people will attend the event. He said the  group recently filed a 
consumer complaint against the  THCF clinic because of the party.

Dana Simas, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Jerry  Brown , said by 
phone the complaint was received but  she could not comment on the issue.

Riverside officials also are aware of the party but are  waiting to 
see what happens before responding.

"There's certainly no prohibition for anyone to have a  party," 
Riverside Police Sgt. Jaybee Brennan said. "If  there is criminal 
activity and there are radio calls  for service at the location, 
obviously we will do what  we do with every radio call."
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