Pubdate: Fri, 04 Jun 2010
Source: Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA)
Copyright: 2010 The Press-Enterprise Company
Author: Alicia Robinson, The Press-Enterprise


As Riverside tries to shut one medical marijuana  dispensary within
city limits, another is seeking to  open with the city's approval.

But city officials said they don't intend to allow the  Greenhouse
Care Group, a collective of about 25  Riverside patients, to run a
dispensary on the east  side.

The group has taken a unique tack. The city has said  its zoning code
forbids any marijuana dispensaries, so  Greenhouse Care Group applied
to change the code, said  Katherine Clifton, a San Diego attorney
representing  the not-for-profit group.

"This is a big community and a lot of people are not  getting the help
they need," Clifton said in an  interview last week.

Paperwork provided by Clifton shows the group asked  that dispensaries
be permitted in business and  manufacturing zones.

The group has already leased a space in a business park  on Old 215
Frontage Road, north of March Air Reserve  Base. Clifton said it will
have security cameras and a  guard, and it will offer members
meditation, yoga and  pain management classes. The collective's
members are  mainly elderly or disabled, she said.

While Clifton said the group is trying to work with the  city so it
can legally open its dispensary, Riverside  officials don't seem
likely to go along.

Another facility, the Inland Empire Health and Wellness  Center, in
December opened a collective that provides  medical marijuana to its
members. Center officials  maintain their right to operate is
supported by state  law, but the city continues to disagree and in May
  sought a court injunction to shut the center's doors.  The case is
still pending.

City Attorney Greg Priamos said Greenhouse Care Group's  application
for a zoning change to allow medical  marijuana dispensaries is the
only such request he's  aware of. In April, the city returned
Clifton's  application and informed her it would not be processed,  he

Because federal law prohibits marijuana use and state  law forbids the
city from adopting rules at odds with  federal law, Priamos said, "We
don't believe we have  the legal authority to amend our zoning code to
permit  dispensaries."

But Clifton said last week she is still hoping for a  discussion on
the issue in Riverside.

"We could have opened based on state law, but I don't  want the threat
of a raid hanging over anyone's head,"  she said. "This path takes
longer and it's more  complex, but if it can lead to a public hearing
I'm all  for it."  
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