Pubdate: Wed, 23 Jun 2010
Source: Napa Valley Register (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Lee Enterprises
Author: Kerana Todorov


One of the potential candidates for a City Council seat  in American
Canyon has tried to operate medical  marijuana dispensaries in her
hometown, Napa and  elsewhere.

Kimberly Pelham, who runs Going Green in Corte Madera,  a medical pot
clinic, recently filed a candidate  intention statement, the first
step toward council  candidacy.

As of Tuesday, three others had filed initial candidate  statements
for the Nov. 2 election: Belia-Eugenia Ramos  Bennett, a former
representative for Rep. Mike  Thompson, D-St. Helena; Don Callison, a
council member  since 2006, and Mark Joseph, the former city manager
who resigned under pressure in December 2005 for  reasons he said were

Two seats, each for four years, will be filled in the  November

American Canyon voters will also select their mayor for  the next two
years. Leon Garcia, the city's mayor since  2006, and Councilwoman
Cindy Coffey have filed  candidate intention statements to run for

Councilman Ed West is also up for re-election this  year. As of
Tuesday, West said he has not made a  decision on his plans.

In 2009, Pelham, 43, tried to open a medical marijuana  dispensary in
American Canyon. Such dispensaries are  permitted under California

Soon after, the City Council banned any use that would  be illegal
under federal law, in effect banning medical  marijuana dispensaries
in town. Medical marijuana  distribution, while legal in California,
remains  illegal under federal law.

A few months later, Pelham opened a medical marijuana  dispensary in
Napa. In November, Napa County Superior  Court Judge Francisca Tisher
ordered the store closed  under a preliminary injunction because it
lacked a  business license and did not conform to Napa's zoning  code.

According to court records, Pelham had opened the  dispensary in the
summer of 2009 on the 600 block of  Soscol Avenue and later moved it
to the 700 block of  Eighth Street.

The city of Napa has since voted to allow future  medical marijuana
dispensaries. Napa is not expected to  award the first permit for
about a year.

Pelham, in the meantime, continues to fight her case in  court. Tisher
denied her appeal earlier this year. A  trial date is set for Oct.

Going Green, Pelham's business, operates a store in  Corte Madera,
according to the company's website. That  store is facing challenges
as well.

The Corte Madera Town Council recently voted to obtain  a court order
to close Going Green and another  dispensary, according to city
records and news reports.

Pelham was not available to comment on her potential

The municipal races are expected to pick up steam over  the

Joseph kicked off his campaign last weekend with a  barbecue for more
than 60 people at Silver Oak Park in  American Canyon.

Among those who have endorsed Joseph are Keith  Caldwell, Napa County
supervisor representing American  Canyon, and American Canyon
Councilwoman Joan Bennett. 
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