Pubdate: Wed, 02 Mar 2011 Source: Record, The (Stockton, CA) Copyright: 2011 The Record Contact: http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=A_OPINION05 Website: http://www.recordnet.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/428 Author: Zachary K. Johnson, Record Staff Writer MEDICAL POT BANNED IN PARTS OF S.J. 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 use. 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." - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.