City Shuts Marijuana Co-op

City Shuts Marijuana Co-op
Posted by CN Staff on April 05, 2005 at 07:22:52 PT
By Shanna McCord, Sentinel Staff Writer
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Cruz -- A Pacific Avenue medical marijuana cooperative has been forced to close by the city Planning Department.The Planning Department demanded the immediate shutdown of Pacific Coast Cooperative on Friday after learning it allowed medical marijuana patients to sell and trade the drug with each other — a violation of the city’s zoning laws.
"They claimed to be a professional consulting business, so we just signed off on it," said Alex Khoury, a principal planner with the Planning Department. "The zoning code clearly distinguishes that that use is not permitted in the downtown commercial district."Medical marijuana became legal in 1996 when state voters passed Proposition 215. Related businesses are permitted in the city’s community commercial district or the industrial district, streets such as Ocean, Mission, River and Soquel Avenue, Khoury said.Harvey West Business Park and the Westside’s industrial buildings are examples of where such medical marijuana businesses might locate, he said. However, Khoury said, the business must be located a maximum distance from schools, parks and homes.Pacific Coast Cooperative opened six weeks ago and served about 200 people, co-founder Peter Koch said. The co-op, in a second-floor office facing Pacific Avenue above Internet provider Cruzio and the nightclub Blue Lagoon, is in an office building that also houses an architect, lawyer and unions. The bus station is across the street."We’re located across from the Metro for a reason," Koch said. "Half of our patients use the bus and many of our patients don’t drive."Koch said he and co-founder Matt Hilliard wanted to use the downtown office as a way to fight the stigma often associated with people who smoke medicinal pot and prove its legitimacy.He and Hilliard figured if they could run a clean and low-key medical marijuana service downtown without bothering other businesses or neighbors, others would become more accepting and understanding.There are roughly 4,000 medical marijuana patients in Santa Cruz County. "We did not intend to deceive the Planning Department," Koch said. "We did intend to put something in place that would show what a medical marijuana dispensary or co-op should be like."Michael Moran, owner of Steamroller Systems Inc., a software development company in the same hall with the co-op, said he had no idea marijuana sales and trades were taking place."I have no complaints at all," Moran said. "I’m happy they’re here. They’re fine."Compassion Flower Inn owner Andrea Tischler said a medical marijuana co-op is needed to help guarantee patients receive top-quality organic cannabis.Plus, a well-run co-op would prevent medical marijuana patients from having to drive to San Francisco or Oakland to find such services, Tischler said."Medical marijuana patients need to have safe access," she said. "They’re not going to have that if they have to buy marijuana on the streets."Why not downtown?"For now, Pacific Coast Cooperative has shut its doors while Hilliard and Koch attempt to work amicably with the city to stay downtown.If they are unable, Koch said they will relocate."If it means they don’t want us here, and we have to move, fine, we’ll move," Koch said. "We’re not renegades. We’re just trying to serve the needs of patients in the community."A common complaint by medical marijuana opponents is that the practice sends a bad message to youth.Proposition 215 critics say it was a deceptive and poorly written initiative to exploit public compassion for the sick to legalize and legitimatize the widespread use of marijuana in California.Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)Author: Shanna McCord, Sentinel Staff WriterPublished: April 5, 2005Copyright: 2005 Santa Cruz SentinelContact: editorial santa-cruz.comWebsite: Flower Inn Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 06, 2005 at 08:56:51 PT
News Article from Snipped Source
Council: No New Stores for PotCity extends moratorium on marijuana purveyors until 2006; ban possible. 
  By Todd Milbourn, Bee Staff Writer April 6, 2005No new medical marijuana dispensary may open in Modesto through at least February, under a measure passed Tuesday night by the City Council.
With the measure, the council bought itself more time to consider its options for regulating such stores — including an outright ban that would shut down two stores already in business.For now, though, they can stay. The measure approved Tuesday night simply extends a 45-day moratorium that the council enacted March 8. The two dispensaries are California Healthcare Collective at 1009 McHenry Ave. and Green Pole Alternative Center at 204 McHenry Ave.The vote was 6-0; Councilman Will O'Bryant left before the vote.Dozens of people paraded to the pod-ium to voice their support for medical cannabis, relating stories of how marijuana helped ease muscle pain and reduce nausea.Many of the pleas described how important it was for patients to have local access to their medicine.City staff already is drawing up a ban on marijuana stores, and City Attorney Michael Milich said the proposal would come up for discussion in coming months at a meeting of the council's Safety Committee.Complete Article:
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 05, 2005 at 11:40:36 PT
Off Topic: New Media? 
I wonder if this will be a Democrat type channel like Fox is a Republican type channel.***Gore's New Media Venture Seeks to Blend TV, Internet Former VP says his Current network gives viewers a voice.Jesse Hamlin, Chronicle Staff WriterTuesday, April 5, 2005 
 Al Gore never said he invented the Internet. But the new San Francisco-based cable TV network he's heading promises to transform television by plugging it into the Internet.
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