Pubdate: Sun, 20 Mar 2011
Source: Record, The (Stockton, CA)
Copyright: 2011 The Record
Bookmark: (California)


The medical marijuana decisions being made in Stockton are important, 
but try to keep the scope of the issue in perspective.

It's not as if a layer of pot smoke is going to hover above the city 
because of three dispensaries opening. Make that the first three 
dispensaries - more certainly could come later as the city grows.

But many other cities are much further down this road, including our 
neighbors to the north.

Where It's Legal

The status of legalized medical marijuana dispensaries in San Joaquin 
and Calaveras counties:

Stockton: A medical marijuana ordinance restricts the number of 
dispensaries; a special committee last week selected three 
dis-pensary finalists.

Lodi: Medical pot dispensaries are prohibited.

Unincorporated county: Medical pot dispensaries are prohibited.

Manteca: Medical pot dispensaries are prohibited. Medical pot 
cooperatives/collectives are allowed.

Tracy: Medical pot dispensaries are prohibited.

Calaveras County: In 2005, supervisors approved an ordinance 
legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Sacramento Bee's website has an interactive map - updated within 
the past couple of months - that marks each dispensary with a 
marijuana-leaf icon. Click on the icon and call up information on the 

There are a couple of dozen places listed.

The Sacramento News and Review published its medical marijuana 
section in April, filled with news stories and advertisements from 
dispensaries. It was 48 pages.

In summary, these three dispensaries of ours are not going to impact 
overall life in a major way for most Stocktonians.

That doesn't mean the issues - and the process - are not important. 
As with many policies, the groundwork set early can help alleviate 
future problems.

Stockton certainly seems to be doing its due diligence about security 
measures. Requirements such as locked entrances, security guards, 
video surveillance, air filtration to cap pot smells and more are important.

In true Stockton fashion, there's been much more controversy about 
who is selected to run the dispensaries than where they're located or 
how many can open.

A virtual Who's Who of the Stockton business community are involved 
in the partnerships that are the leading contenders.

The three leaders among the nine contenders - Port of Stockton 
Wellness Center, Port City Health and Wellness and Stockton Patient 
Cooperative - all have ties to prominent lawyers, CEOs and other 
successful business people.

The process will play out over the next three or so months, with the 
Planning Commission and City Council ultimately making these decisions.

Expertise and experience from the north comes into play, too. The 
Stockton facilities would be run by operators of successful 
Sacramento dispensaries.

All of which should tell you that these will not be the 
stereotypical, old-school, cannabis "head shops" run by "hippies." 
There's money to be made, and people are lining up to make it.

It's important that citizens - and decision makers - do not lose 
sight of one key word in this debate: medical.

The ultimate reason for these dispensaries is to help patients with 
their medical needs. Let's hope that important fact doesn't get lost 
amid the debate over who makes money and the concern about having 
marijuana for sale legally.  
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake