Pubdate: Sat, 29 May 2010
Source: Napa Valley Register (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Lee Enterprises
Author: Lisa Toller


On Tuesday, June 1, the Napa City Council will vote on  a proposed
ordinance to allow two medical marijuana  dispensaries in the city of
Napa. The citizens of Napa  should have all of the information they
need in order  to weigh the pros and cons of having dispensaries in
their town.

For example, the California Police Chiefs Association,  in their White
Paper on Marijuana Dispensaries in April  2009, concluded after a
multi-year study of  dispensaries across California that: "Marijuana
dispensaries are commonly large money-making  enterprises that will
sell marijuana to most anyone who  produces a physician's written
recommendation for its  medical use. These recommendations can be had
by paying  unscrupulous physicians a fee and claiming to have most
any malady, even headaches. While the dispensaries will  claim to
receive only donations, no marijuana will  change hands without an
exchange of money. These  operations have been tied to organized
criminal gangs,  foster large grow operations, and are often
multimillion-dollar profit centers. Because they are  repositories of
valuable marijuana crops and large  amounts of cash, several operators
of dispensaries have  been attacked and murdered by armed robbers both
at  their storefronts and homes, and s! uch places have been
regularly burglarized. Drug dealing, sales to minors,  loitering,
heavy vehicle and foot traffic in retail  areas, increased noise, and
robberies of customers just  outside dispensaries are also common
ancillary  byproducts of their operations."

The Yountville Planning Commission cited this White  Paper in its
recently passed ordinance to ban medical  marijuana dispensaries.
American Canyon has also  established an ordinance that bans any
business that  does not meet state and federal laws, effectively
banning medical marijuana dispensaries which are  illegal according to
federal law.

This is not to say that seriously ill patients who have  a valid
recommendation from a legitimate physician  should not be allowed
access to medical marijuana. They  should according to the law in
California. There are  dozens of dispensaries in close proximity to
Napa, and  for those patients too sick to drive to the  dispensaries,
some of them will deliver.

It's not too late for Napa residents to reconsider the  proposed plan
to allow dispensaries. If you feel like  the possible drawbacks of
increased crime, drug  dealing, sales to minors, loitering, noise and
more  traffic outweigh the benefits, then write, e-mail or  call your
City Council members today and go to the  meeting on Tuesday, June 1,
at 6:30 p.m., at city hall,  and express your opinion.

Lisa Toller

(Toller lives in St. Helena.) 
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D