The seeds of a health care revolution in drug and alcohol treatment
are just starting to germinate. The outcome is far from certain, but,
with billions on the table, an epic battle is percolating.
Let's start with the convoluted back story. A hundred-plus years ago,
drug and alcohol problems were generally viewed as moral weakness
and/or personality defect confined to working class Caucasians or
ethnic minorities. Alcohol and drug use was legal in America.
Then, the temperance movement produced alcohol Prohibition in 1920.
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My neighbor and friend Andy Whyman wrote a guest column in the Aug.
15 Sierra Sun and Aug. 24 Bonanza stating his case for legalizing
pot. Hopefully after he reads this we will still be friends. But Andy
is just plain wrong on this issue and here is why.
His opening paragraph states that "the criminalization of marijuana
is a war on citizens, particularly citizens of color." So by that
reasoning we should legalize killing in the inner city neighborhoods
for the same reason. Or maybe make mass murder legal because it is a
war on white people.
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According to recent reports, it's probably not what you think you're
I read Andy Whyman's guest column, "Legalizing pot would lead to
positive social change," with interest, especially because
coincidentally, I had just finished reading, "Legal Pot Is a Public
Health Menace" that ran the same day in The Wall Street Journal.
Missing from Whyman's information are two key points.
One, there is a huge disconnect between science and public opinion.
Facts exist that show smoking marijuana can be detrimental. The Wall
Street Journal references a study in the journal "Current Addiction
Reports," which found that "regular pot use (defined as once a week)
among teenagers and young adults led to cognitive decline, poor
attention and memory, and decreased IQ." (The Wall Street Journal,
8-14-14, p. A11)
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Regular readers of this column know I have argued that marijuana is
far safer than alcohol. Also, that the criminalization of marijuana
usage, a central component of the failed "War on Drugs," really
amounts to a War on Citizens, particularly citizens of color.
Now, the New York Times, in an unprecedented series of editorials,
forcefully contends that the time has come to end the federal
prohibition against marijuana and allow the states to make their own
rules about this drug (See N.Y. Times, July 27, 2014).
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TRUCKEE, Calif. -- Nothing was found during the first-ever search by
a police dog last week at Truckee High School, officials said.
Trax, Truckee Police Department's narcotics detection canine, made an
unannounced visit to the school on Thursday, May 8.
"Our objectives are maintaining a safe community and preventing our
youth from alcohol and drug abuse," TPD Chief Adam McGill said in a
statement. "Trax is one of the many tools we're using to accomplish
The 2-year-old black lab joined the force last November, working with
his handler, Officer Andrew Holbrook. The dog is trained to detect
heroin, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and ecstasy.
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NEVADA CITY, Calif. -- Paperwork has been filed to force Nevada County
to hold a special election that will ask voters to decide the
substance of its medical marijuana ordinance enacted last year.
Patricia Smith, president of the Nevada County chapter of Americans
for Safe Access, has repeatedly asserted that last May's
county-approved cultivation ordinance is a de facto ban on collective
cultivation of the medicinal plant and presents other problems for
patients who need the medicine to allay various ailments.
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Former South Lake Tahoe medical marijuana dispensary owner Gennaro
"Gino" DiMatteo was arrested on federal charges prior to a court
hearing in Placerville Friday.
As DiMatteo entered the El Dorado County Superior Court's Department
7 courtroom during a recess about 2 p.m., a District Attorney's
investigator told him they had to talk, took his arm and shuffled him
over to a corner of the courtroom between the audience and where
arguments are heard.
He then asked DiMatteo to put his arms behind his back because he was
being arrested on a federal warrant.
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Although the former Third Street site of the City of Angels 2 medical
marijuana collective sat shuttered Friday, the fight over the
marijuana dispensary appears far from over.
On Wednesday, attorneys representing the collective filed suit
against the South Lake Tahoe City Council and former City Manager
Tony O'Rourke, challenging the city's July denial of a proposed
relocation of the pot club.
Wednesday's petition for writ of mandate asks El Dorado County
Superior Court Judge Steven Bailey to compel the city to vacate its
July 3 vote denying approval of the move, and make the City Council
issue a resolution approving its June 5 support for transferring the
collective's operating permit to a new location.
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Former South Shore medical marijuana dispensary owner Gino DiMatteo
has pleaded not guilty to felony charges including bribing a City
Council member and possession of a controlled substance.
Gennaro "Gino" DiMatteo and his wife, Irene DiMatteo, were arrested
Aug. 31. Details of the arrests have not been made public by the El
Dorado County District Attorney's Office.
Prosecutors have charged Gino DiMatteo, who previously operated the
City of Angels 2 Collective, with bribery, possession of marijuana for
sale, possession of Methelone and illegal possession of ammunition.
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A second medical marijuana dispensary in South Lake Tahoe is facing
closure after having its operating permit revoked last week.
The city revoked Patient to Patient Collective's dispensary permit
July 11 after making several unsuccessful attempts to get the medical
marijuana dispensary to properly install a fire safety wall, Interim
City Manager Nancy Kerry said Tuesday.
During a July 13 inspection, city officials also found the dispensary
growing marijuana in an upstairs room at the property in violation of
their permit, Kerry said.
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. -- Whether three medical marijuana
dispensaries should be able to transfer a permit to a new operator
hung up a South Lake Tahoe City Council discussion about proposed
regulation of the dispensaries Tuesday.
Council members agreed to most of a proposed ordinance that would
grant permits to three dispensaries considered "established
operations" by the city if they successfully complete a two phase
The requirements of the permit include being in compliance with state
law, not causing a public nuisance, allowing yearly inspections,
operating on a not-for-profit basis and providing the city access to
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Boreal Hearing Delayed
GRASS VALLEY, Calif. -- Nevada County officials are one step away from
uniformly banning medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the county.
On Thursday, the county's planning commission voted 3-0, with two
members absent, to recommend its board of supervisors adopt a ban on
If approved at the supervisors Tuesday, July 12, meeting, such
businesses would have no place to function in Nevada County, as owners
would be barred from opening up shop in the unincorporated county,
Grass Valley, Nevada City and Truckee, which have all either already
banned the establishments or don't allow them under current zoning
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - South Lake Tahoe's medical marijuana
dispensaries could face stringent operational and financial regulation
under a proposed ordinance released by the city this week.
The proposal requires existing dispensaries to submit detailed
applications to the city and receive a permit to operate. Where a
dispensary can grow marijuana is also restricted under the draft ordinance.
A moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries has been in place
since November 2009 to allow the city time to regulate the operations,
which opened in South Lake Tahoe as far back as 2008.
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After being asked to write a column for the Tribune, I gave thought
to the format.
The bureaucrat in me started to think about a formal report to inform
the readers about the latest police action, community issues, and our
organization's future plans.
Then I thought readers might like to know about my personal
experiences as I adjust to living in South Lake Tahoe. Lastly, I
thought that an interesting format might be to pretend it is like
writing a letter to a friend - so here goes.
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - Medical marijuana growers will be able to
make it official in the eyes of South Lake Tahoe following a decision
by the City Council this week.
The council unanimously approved an ordinance regulating the
cultivation of medical marijuana in residential homes Tuesday.
The ordinance is designed to encourage medical marijuana growers with
legitimate needs to comply while discouraging unscrupulous growers
from damaging rental properties, said Mayor Hal Cole.
City of Angels 2 collective owner Gino DiMatteo said he supports the
ordinance, which should deter people from coming into a town, renting
a place to grow marijuana, damaging the rental and leaving, DiMatteo said.
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - On Tuesday, the South Lake Tahoe City
Council rejected a proposed new medical marijuana cultivation
ordinance with reduced penalties and improved security for patients
from ripoffs and raids. Instead, the council demanded the fine for
noncompliance, which had been reduced by the city manager and attorney
to $100, be increased back to $1,000 per day. Even more disturbing,
the council opted to add a clause that would make public the names of
patient growers who are alleged to not be in compliance with the city
ordinance, a terrible policy that will be abused by burglars and rogue
federal drug agents to harm sick people.
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. -- How qualified patients and caregivers can
legally grow medical marijuana in their homes will be on Tuesday's
agenda for the South Lake Tahoe City Council.
Under the latest proposed cultivation ordinance, medical marijuana
grows would be limited to 10 percent of a home's square footage and
require inspections and permits from city officials.
As-of-yet undecided application and renewal fees would also be used to
pay for city costs associated with the ordinance.
Violations would be considered a misdemeanor and would include a fine
of up to $1,000, six months in jail or both. Also, medical marijuana
grows would be expected to be in compliance with the ordinance by Dec.
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - After more than a year of back and forth
with the city, the owner of a medical marijuana collective in South
Lake Tahoe is ready to let the courts decide who can legally provide
cannabis at the South Shore.
On Monday, Mountain Collective owner Chris Ziegler filed suit against
South Lake Tahoe over a November 2009 emergency moratorium on new
medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.
The suit challenges the legality of the moratorium as well as how it
was applied to Mountain Collective.
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What Happens If 19 Passes?
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. -- In 1913, California became the first state
in the U.S. to make marijuana illegal. And in less than a week, it
could be the first to reverse course.
On Tuesday, voters will decide whether to approve the Regulate,
Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, known as Proposition 19.
The possibility has attracted international attention, criticism from
federal officials and debate around the country about the merits and
drawbacks of legal marijuana.
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Bruce Grego's "Suffering slings and 'pot shots'" is a perfect
illustration of hypocrisy.
Regarding cannabis (marijuana), Grego doesn't like changing words,
such as "drugs" to "medicine," "drug distribution center" to
"dispensaries," or "drug users" to "patients." But it's OK to refer to
the God-given plant cannabis, not as a plant but rather a "drug."