Pubdate: Wed, 18 Jan 2012
Source: Santa Clara Weekly, The (CA)
Contact:  2012 The Santa Clara Weekly
Website: http://www.santaclaraweekly.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/5316
Author: Robert Haugh

SANTA CLARA VS. MEDICAL MARIJUANA PART 2

With an injunction hearing scheduled for January 24, the City of 
Santa Clara is attempting to shut down Angel's Care Collective, a 
popular medical marijuana dispensary located on Laurelwood Avenue.

Due to several zoning and code violations against Angel's Care and 
allegedly over $100,000 in unpaid fines, the injunction order was 
filed against Angel's Care by the City on December 8, 2011 in Santa 
Clara County Superior Court.

City Adopts Ordinance Prohibiting Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

At the August 16, 2011 City Council meeting, the Council adopted an 
ordinance (Ordinance No. 1888, resolution No. 11-7876) amending the 
zoning code to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries (MMD).

The agenda report for the Council action, prepared by then Interim 
City Attorney Elizabeth Silver stated, "the advantage to adopting 
this ordinance include no possibility of illegal activity at MMDs, 
including profit-oriented dispensaries; no secondary negative social 
impacts that could arise the ability to obtain marijuana in the City; 
no land use compatibility issues between MMDs and surrounding uses 
and businesses; and no complicated and potentially-expensive 
enforcement efforts."

The ordinance was approved by a 5-2 vote, with Council members Jamie 
McCleod and Will Kennedy dissenting. Prior to adopting the ordinance, 
the City had a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries and 
related facilities in place since November 2009. The ordinance 
prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries, as defined in SCCC 
18.06.010 in all zoning districts in the City.

In addition to citations issued to Angel's Care, fines were also 
issued to East Coast Collective along with a request to cease 
operations, according to Deputy City Manager Carol McCarthy. East 
Coast Collective was cited four times for $500 each time, prior to 
closing in December 2009. Other marijuana collectives, including The 
Jade Leaf and Santa Clara Collective, were believed to have been 
operating in Santa Clara at one time. Apparently both voluntarily 
closed when they were informed that they were in violation and would 
be cited by the City.

Angel's Care Executive Director Douglas Carter claims Angel's Care is 
a legitimate business, and that he offered the City ample 
notification of the type of business he would be running, well in 
advance of opening. He states Angel's Care will be appealing the injunction.

"No one leaves our place of business intoxicated, there is no onsite 
consumption and that is my rule not the City's. We don't trade money 
or weed for flesh. Hundreds of thousands of people die each year of 
alcohol-related illnesses, diseases and complications. Thousands die 
of AIDS every year. There is not one documented case where cannabis 
caused a death," states Carter.

Looking Back - What Carter Wrote to the City in February 2009

"I am planning to open a medical cannabis dispensary in your area. 
This is a Legal organization that provides medical marijuana to those 
who are entitled to have it under California law. California voters 
overwhelming adopted Proposition 215 in 1996. Since then, support for 
Medical Cannabis has grown state wide [sic]. Legitimate dispensaries 
are regarded as an assets [sic] to their Community. They serve people 
that suffer from Aids [sic], Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Glaucoma, 
Chronic pain and other serious illnesses. We will be working closely 
with Doctors and Clinics in your community to provide these needs," 
stated Carter in a February 2009 letter to the City.

Angel's Care Files an Initiative to Adopt an Ordinance Permitting 
Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Santa Clara

Angel's Care recently filed an initiative that would add Chapter 
5.46, entitled Medical Marijuana, to the City Code of the City of 
Santa Clara, that "would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to 
operate in the commercial, agricultural and light industrial zoning 
districts of the City without permit and would allow dispensaries in 
all other non-residential districts within 1,000 feet of an existing 
retail use."

The initiative's purpose is "implementing the Compassionate Use Act 
of 1996 and the Medical Marijuana Program Act." The initiative would 
establish standards for medical marijuana.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom