Pubdate: Wed, 18 Aug 2010
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2010 Record Searchlight
Author: Scott Mobley
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Redding will loosen restrictions on medicinal cannabis co-ops -- but 
not as much as advocates would like.

The City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday night to allow the city's 18 
cannabis collectives to sell nonflowering clones, permit patients to 
specify how much medicinal marijuana they need and lift the ban on 
tobacco at the co-ops.

The city also will allow collectives to grow plants at indoor 
nurseries, but only with a permit, in industrial or heavy commercial 
areas and with the property owner's permission.

Mayor Patrick Jones cast the lone dissenting vote against loosening 
restrictions, saying he wanted to be consistent with his earlier 
anti-medicinal cannabis votes and to register his "dislike of 
marijuana in our city."

The council declined to grant a half dozen further concessions to 
collective owners and patient advocates. Owners and advocates had 
wanted the city to let co-ops sell pipes, vaporizers and other 
paraphernalia; lift the ban on cell phone use in collectives; permit 
nonmembers to work in the co-ops; drop a requirement that patients 
belong to one collective and allow children inside the sales area.

Police Chief Peter Hansen said patients could go to smoke shops in 
town for pipes and other accessories. And the ban on cell phones -- 
which generally are equipped with video cameras -- was meant to 
protect patient privacy, he said.

Hansen opposed allowing members to belong to more than one collective 
to curb abuse, noting police had discovered one patient filled a 
doctor's recommendation for medicine at nine co-ops.

The prohibition on allowing nonmembers to work at collectives was 
meant to protect them from prosecution, City Attorney Rick Duvernay 
told the council. Anyone without a doctor's recommendation for 
medicinal cannabis caught handling it could be prosecuted, he said.

Advocates generally praised Hansen and Duvernay for taking time to 
review the regulations, often criticized as overly restrictive. But 
they had hoped for further flexibility.

Natalie Fuellenbach, assistant director at Herbs and Edibles on Lake 
Boulevard, said many of her patients would prefer to have all of 
their needs met under one roof rather than having to buy medicine at 
one spot and a delivery system at another.

"We do have a lot of people in wheelchairs, older people, who you 
would not think are using medical marijuana," Fuellenbach said. "They 
want their privacy, so pipes being available is a big issue."

Frank Augusta, who owns Safe Arbor on Lake Boulevard, said he wanted 
to be able to meet all his patients' needs.

"If I sold insulin I would sell needles," Augusta said. "This seems 
to be the same way."

Council member Mary Stegall said she'd like to see the council 
consider lifting the ban on cell phone use, multiple co-op membership 
and paraphernalia sales during another review of the city's medical 
marijuana regulations in six months or so.

The council approved the regulations late last year after cannabis 
collectives, or cooperatives, mushroomed in the city. Redding hosted 
an estimated 35 collectives during summer 2009, Hansen said.

Some 20 organizations applied for a permit under the new regulations 
when they went into effect in January, he said.

The city denied one co-op a permit, Hansen said. Another shut down 
earlier this year.

Redding officials have issued warnings to several collectives after 
inspections, and they suspended the Family Tree Care Center for one 
day in June after disputes with neighboring Mission Square tenants. 
Those problems have not resurfaced, Hansen said.

Police conducted a sting operation against at least 10 collectives 
earlier this year when undercover officers tried to sell them 
marijuana. All complied with the regulations and state law by 
refusing to deal with nonmembers, Hansen told the council.

"Our relationship with the cooperatives has been positive," Hansen said.
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