Pubdate: Sun, 09 Oct 2011
Source: Record, The (Stockton, CA)
Copyright: 2011 The Record
Author: Mike Klocke


We'll start with a serious disclaimer: There is no question that many 
people reap the benefits of medical marijuana prescriptions.

Pain is eased. Symptoms are no longer as severe. Suffering can be 
decreased. Ailing people can get well - or at least think they are well.

With that out of the way, and with Stockton dipping its toes in the 
medical marijuana water, there are two other key parts of the equation:

Money, money and more money.

The chance for people who are not suffering but like to smoke weed 
to, well, smoke a ton of weed!

It's going to look less like "Dr. Kildare" and "Marcus Welby" and a 
lot more like "House" when it comes to the medicinal part of medical marijuana.

Stockton's first bona fide med pot dispensary, Port City Health and 
Wellness, opened last week on Fremont Street. The co-founder is an 
attorney from a very prominent Stockton family - Michael Rishwain.

"We're providing a product people demand. What can I say?" he told 
one of our reporters.

The center appears to be following to a "T" the city's 
well-structured ordinance. And, as of now, only three dispensaries 
will be allowed in the city.

You have to wonder, however, as demand increases, City Councils 
change and money is made, if Stockton will some day become ... Sacramento.

Yes, our state capital is swimming in veritable bong water with 
medical marijuana facilities. There are dozens and dozens of them.

There are enough that an alternative newspaper, the Sacramento News & 
Review, publishes a medical marijuana insert each week. It's called 
"The 420" (Google that phrase if you don't already know the meaning). 
Last week it was 32 pages.

Do you think the emphasis is on health, healing and medicine in 
advertisements from the Sacramento dispensaries and related 
businesses? Well, here's a sampling:

Sacramento 420Doc: "Voted second best medical marijuana physicians in 
Sacramento! $40 for renewals and $50 for new patients. Bring this 
coupon and get $4.20 off your medical exam."

DOC's Wellness: "Firecracker! $50 for 1/8th ... A premium bud covered 
in hash oil. Slow burning and powerful effects make Firecracker a must!"

Magnolia Wellness: "Facebook Fridays. Check our page each Friday for 
great deals!"

1Love Wellness: "First timers package. Your choice of 12 dose edible 
package or a love button and joint."

Medicinal Genetics: "Home of the Strawberry Diesel."

It's apparent how much money is at stake. While there's no haze 
hovering over Sac-town, it's apparent the city's approach to medical 
marijuana is closer to "Smoke 'em if you got 'em" instead of "Let's 
be careful."

It's far too early to predict whether there will be residual impacts 
- - positive or negative - with med pot arriving in Stockton.

There have been some interesting "sidebar stories" recently with the 
Stockton Unified School District complaining about the proximity of a 
dispensary to one of its schools and the bust of a pot-growing 
operation at a Vicki Lane warehouse.

The warehouse bust was interesting. The men who were detained said it 
was a legal pot growing operation and they wanted to cooperate with 
authorities - then many pulled shirts over their heads when the media 
cameras showed up.

Who really knows where this is headed in Stockton?

Some think we should adopt the Sacramento's all-in strategy. With 
unemployment at 18 percent, maybe there are jobs to be had. Medical 
marijuana sales, according to published reports, are expected to top 
$1.7 billion nationwide this year. There was a huge cannabis job fair 
in south San Francisco this weekend.

My view on Stockton's medical marijuana status is three-pronged: 1) 
If you get a prescription, you can get marijuana; 2) if you want a 
prescription, there are plenty of doctors who will give it to you; 3) 
if that doesn't happen, Sacramento is less than an hour away.

If you want weed - even if you're not ill or suffering - it'll be 
about as hard to obtain as a package of chewing gum.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart