Pubdate: Sat, 5 Feb 2011
Source: Times-Herald, The (Vallejo, CA)
Copyright: 2011 The Times-Herald
Author: Jessica A. York
Bookmark: (California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - U.S.)


Why does Vallejo have so many medical marijuana dispensaries and 
should the city draft regulations to control the businesses?

Those questions and others will be highlighted at Monday night's 
Neighborhood Watch and Fighting Back Partnership meeting.

The event has drawn the attention of some of the very dispensaries 
being scrutinized, in addition to residents concerned about their presence.

"I want this to begin a dialogue that hopefully will end in an 
ordinance" that addresses local dispensaries, said meeting organizer 
John Allen, of Fighting Back Partnership. "What (are) the appropriate 
place for (them)?"

By some estimates, Vallejo has 14 dispensaries in town -- up from 
eight last year, said Councilwoman Marti Brown, who plans to attend 
the meeting.

"That should speak volumes that we need something, whatever it is," 
Brown said of the increase. "Outlawing, moratorium or something in between."

Brown said she would like to have the city consider putting on the 
November ballot a measure regulating and taxing Vallejo dispensaries 
- -- an effort that could bring needed revenue to the city coffers, as 
it has for Oakland. She said the direct approach, with clear City 
Council policy, is likely to be less expensive and time-consuming 
then piecemeal litigation, which the city is currently engaged in.

The idea of putting a freeze on dispensaries in Vallejo is not unique 
to Brown, either.

Attorney Ken Beyries, a member of the board of directors for the 
California Collective Care dispensary on Lewis Brown Drive, said he 
and dispensary owners are seeking a citywide moratorium on new 
dispensaries. During a period of study, an advisory committee of city 
staff, dispensary representatives and city attorneys could explore a 
way to regulate dispensary operations -- as for any other business.

"I know that all the dispensaries that I've been associated with 
directly have sought licensing with the city, are properly organized, 
are paying sales tax to the state of California," said Beyries, a 
Santa Rosa criminal and cannabis law attorney.

Beyries said he belongs to an eight-member Vallejo Dispensaries 
Operators Group and some planned to attend Monday's meeting.

Matt Shotwell, owner of Greenwell Cooperative, said he hopes the City 
Council will consider regulating dispensaries during its midyear 
budget review next month.

"I think that they realize the fiscally responsible move (is to) tax 
and regulate not litigate, that's my motto," Shotwell said.



What: Vallejo Fighting Back Partnership and Neighborhood Watch groups meeting

When: 6 p.m. Monday

Where: Joseph Room, John F. Kennedy Library, 505 Santa Clara St.

At issue: Vallejo's burgeoning medical marijuana dispensary trade 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake