Med Marijuana Business Vows To Be Good Neighbor

Med Marijuana Business Vows To Be Good Neighbor
Posted by CN Staff on March 24, 2005 at 11:52:18 PT
By Paul Payne, The Press Democrat
Source: Press Democrat
California -- A Santa Rosa medical marijuana club is reaching out to its neighbors, telling residents and nearby businesses that it's aware of unruly customers and excessive traffic and is working to resolve the problems.The olive branch from Resource Green Caregiver and Patients Group went out in the form of a letter to about 50 residents of the Luther Burbank Gardens neighborhood, many of whom complained recently to police and city officials about activity outside the club.
Resource Green Operations manager Melissa Gordon wrote that the club has had problems since it opened in May and has revoked memberships of 10 to 20 customers for actions such as re-selling marijuana and smoking in public.But she said the majority of the club's 2,500 customers have been cooperative and she hopes the club can remain in the building it leases close to bus stops and the police station.The two-page letter stopped short of any apologies."We are really trying to make an effort," said Gordon, who went door-to-door with the letter Friday. "We're here to support the community, not be a disservice."Criticism of Resource Green - one of three Santa Rosa pot clubs - erupted last week before the City Council. Neighbors complained of confrontations with customers and urged city officials to investigate.City Council members, who were mostly surprised to learn the pot clubs existed, said they would consider adopting an ordinance to regulate them.While council members acknowledged the rights of people with prescriptions for marijuana, they said they would respond to concerns of neighbors.Pot clubs emerged after California voters approved Proposition 215, the 1996 ballot measure that allowed medical use of marijuana. More than 100 of the clubs are believed to be operating statewide despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that they violate federal law.Faced with complaints such as those heard by the Santa Rosa council, several cities are considering measures to regulate the clubs. In Santa Rosa, the council is expected to act on an ordinance or moratorium on new pot clubs in the coming months."It's on our radar screen," Mayor Jane Bender said. "We're very concerned about it."Sonoma Avenue resident David Backus, who received one of the letters, said the city should intervene."I've got nothing against medical marijuana," said Backus, a camera salesman. "I just think it's very stupid to let your customers hang out on the street."Rayburn Killion, one of the most outspoken Resource Green critics, said the letter did little to dispel his concerns.He said cars continue to block driveways, people walk by smoking pot and customers are rude.Twenty minutes after Gordon dropped off the letter, Killion said a customer drove by his house and yelled insults out her window."I don't feel any better," said Killion, a lawyer.However, the pot club said it is doing everything within its power to curtail problems.Security guards watch the street in front of the club and managers enforce restrictions on parking, number of visits per day and hours.In addition to acknowledging problems, the letter sought to explain the club, detailing member guidelines, a "good neighbor" agreement signed by customers and a mission statement written by owner Ken Doerpinghaus.Gordon also explained that customers are screened for appropriate medical documents.The club, she said, buys its marijuana from customers who grow it in small local gardens.The marijuana is then resold to others with valid prescriptions, she said. Prices run about $45 for an eighth-ounce of marijuana.The 13 full-time employees also are medical marijuana users. They receive wages and will soon get medical benefits, Gordon said."I want you to know that we are just as concerned about these issues as you are and we will work with you to create a safe, healing environment for our patients, neighbors and the community we are all a part of," Gordon said in the letter.Note: Operators address concerns of residents, city.Source: Press Democrat, The (CA)Author: Paul Payne, The Press DemocratPublished: Thursday, March 24, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Press DemocratContact: letters pressdemo.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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