Pubdate: Wed, 02 Mar 2011
Source: Record, The (Stockton, CA)
Copyright: 2011 The Record
Author: Zachary K. Johnson, Record Staff Writer


Unincorporated Areas Can't Be Home to Clinics

STOCKTON - Officials banned medical marijuana dispensaries in
unincorporated San Joaquin County on Tuesday.

With its vote, the county Board of Supervisors joined the Lodi City
Council in officially prohibiting the storefront pot shops. Elected
officials in Stockton are taking a different route. The City Council
is expected later this month to select up to three applicants to
operate city-regulated and -taxed dispensaries.

That split on views was one reason supervisors gave for enacting the
ban in unincorporated areas, which consists of the land outside and
between the county's seven cities, each with its own elected city council.

If the county allowed such dispensaries, it would mean somebody could
open a dispensary right at the limits of Lodi, board Chairman Larry
Ruhstaller said.

"The majority of the people live in the incorporated cities," he said.
"Let the city you live in set the rule."

Though there is at least one dispensary operating in an unincorporated
pocket of Stockton, county rules prohibit dispensaries. A new
ordinance explicitly forbidding dispensaries is forthcoming. For the
past year, county staff researched the issue and came back with a
recommendation against allowing dispensaries in the county. Reasons
included the cost of enforcement, the potential of increased crime and
the conflict between state and federal laws when it comes to marijuana

Some members of the public weighed in on the issue.

Maryland Harrison, 60, came with her family to support the ban.
"(Drugs) destroy. They destroy lives," she said.

Medical pot supporters also spoke, saying people who use medical
marijuana are trying to alleviate suffering.

"I rely on it to function. I rely on it to take away the pain in my
legs," said Robin Rushing, who has diabetes. And marijuana is legal
for medical use in the state, he said.

"In the state of California, I am not a criminal. I have done
everything the state has required me to do." 
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