Pubdate: Tue, 12 Oct 2010
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2010 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Nancy Pasternack, Appeal-Democrat
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - U.S.)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)


With her tiny stature, mousy features and silver hair, 56-year-old 
Marysville resident Karen Liggett is hardly an imposing figure.

But her outspokenness about drugs - including medical marijuana - 
sparks angry outbursts at city council meetings.

Liggett represents the sole, visible opposition to dozens of 
advocates who, in recent months, have attended bi-monthly regular 
council meetings to voice their support of Norcal Health & Wellness 
Collective, a medical marijuana dispensary.

Norcal recently was closed by order of an administrative search 
warrant, for failing to possess a business license or use permit.

"I've always been against it, and I've been talkin' out about it to 
everybody," says Liggett of her anti-marijuana stance.

She lines up among Norcal supporters who speak out during the public 
hearing segment against Marysville's ordinance restricting 
dispensaries. Some speak angrily about a lawsuit the city recently 
filed against Norcal. They issue diatribes about Marysville having 
violated their rights.

And usually, a few detail their own terminal or chronic ailments and 
prior medical history. They attest to dramatic relief of their 
symptoms through use of medical marijuana, and plead with city 
officials to allow the Marysville dispensary to remain open, or to re-open.

But according to Liggett, marijuana is bad news. It's a gateway drug, 
she says, that led her own son to a life of addiction and related crime.

"I asked him why he still did marijuana," Liggett says. He answered, 
'It makes me feel good. It makes me forget about the world.' But the 
problems don't get solved when you get high. They will still be there 
when you're done."

"They just want to get high," she says, even of those with obvious 
maladies and sympathetic stories. "They probably went to a quack doctor."

The fact of her own son's troubles is the subject of many of the 
insults and jeers Liggett gets when she approaches the microphone to speak.

"These people do not have enough common courtesy to sit quietly and 
listen while she speaks, even though she does that for them," says 
Dixon Coulter, Administrative Services Director for the city and 
interim City Manager. "It's a real display of public rudeness. They 
are treating her badly simply because they don't share her opinion."

"Childish," is what Police Chief Wally Fullerton has called the 
Norcal supporters' behavior.

Norcal spokesman Joey Leon says the way his supporters behave at 
meetings are not his business.

"I don't know what the formal rules or the code of conduct are," he 
says. "It's not for me to weigh in how other adults behave."

As for Liggett herself, he says, "Norcal people are dangerous people 
- - that's how she always portrays us. And as you can see, patients and 
non-patients both seem to be against her."

Shouting matches have followed the council meetings on the City Hall 
steps. After several recent meetings, Norcal supporters stood outside 
City Hall and delivered personal insults as Liggett exits the 
building and walks to her car.

Usually, she shouts right back.

Liggett says retaliation for her crusade against drugs has continued 
beyond her city council appearances. She recently reported to police 
a series of costly tampering incidents involving her car.

But even at 5-3 and 150 pounds and standing alone in a sea of angry 
voices, she says she is not in the least bit intimidated.

"It's just frustrating and it costs me money," she says.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake