Pot Club Review Finds Few Issues

  Pot Club Review Finds Few Issues

Posted by CN Staff on April 11, 2005 at 07:04:12 PT
By Heather MacDonald, Staff Writer 
Source: Oakland Tribune 

Oakland, Calif. -- Oaksterdam may be no more, but Oakland's four medical marijuana clubs are thriving seven months after city officials imposed sweeping new rules that extinguished the pot mecca. City officials found no serious problems associated with the cannabis clubs during a recent review, and owners and pot advocates said they would push City Council to allow more dispensaries to open.
"The lack of problems shows pot clubs can be good neighbors, good citizens, interested in helping our community," said Jeff Jones, executive director of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative. Council President Ignacio De La Fuente (Glenview-Fruitvale) said he was pleased the regulations successfully reduced nuisances caused by several unregulated clubs. "The city wants to get marijuana to people who need it formedical reasons," De La Fuente said. "Oakland has really set the pace for the region and the state." The city has received several complaints that patients have been treated rudely at the clubs, paid for more cannabis than they actually received and were forced to disclose confidential medical information. Medical marijuana advocates said those were common problems in emerging markets and would be eased by increased competition if more clubs are permitted to open throughout Oakland. "The limit of four is artificial and not based on anything," said Hilary McQuie, a spokeswoman for Americans for Safe Access. "They need better criteria, real data." However, De La Fuente said he would not consider expanding the number of clubs because not one Oakland resident has complained to the city about not being able to obtain medical marijuana. McQuie said the lack of complaints shouldn't be interpreted as proving the four clubs have adequate capacity. "Not only are more people being diagnosed with illnesses that respond to marijuana, but increased confidence in the legality of medical marijuana is encouraging people who otherwise have shied away to get their card," McQuie said. There is anecdotal evidence the clubs forced out of Oakland have relocated to areas that haven't yet  regulated the dispensaries, including San Francisco and unincorporated parts of Alameda County. The director of the Berkeley Patients Group, Debbie Goldsberry, told city officials she has seen an influx of Oakland residents since the regulations went into effect. OCBC representatives told city officials that only about 2,000 Oakland residents are registered as patients and caregivers, while the four clubs are permitted to have at least 4,500 customers. The council's Public Safety Committee will review a report summarizing the implementation of new law at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, in Hearing Room One at City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza. "I'm happy that we haven't had problems," said Councilmember Nancy Nadel (Downtown-West Oakland). Nadel said she was still concerned about a federal crackdown and called the conflict between the federal prohibition on marijuana and the state's medical marijuana law "the elephant in the room." Richard Lee, who operates SR71 Coffeeshop on 17th Street, agreed, saying he was more nervous about the club's legal situation than he was before the city issued him one of the coveted permits. "We're more public and official," Lee said. "The war is going our way. It's becoming just a regular business. Lee said he has urged city officials to allow his coffeeshop to stay open an extra hour, until 9 p.m., to accommodate customers traveling from as far as the San Joaquin Valley to purchase marijuana. Only one club — California Advocate Relief Exchange — remains in what was Oaksterdam, the area between 17th and 19th streets and Broadway and Telegraph Avenue. The three other clubs are clustered around downtown Oakland. "It's worked out fine," said Dale Gieringer, executive director of California NORML. "There is a fairly good relationship between city officials and the pot clubs." In addition to regulating the dispensaries, the regulations reduced the number of plants individuals can have from a maximum of 72 small indoor plants to 12 immature and 6 mature or flowering plants. Perhaps because of the passage of Measure Z in November, which made private adult use  of marijuana the Oakland Police Department's lowest law enforcement priority, that limit has not prompted any complaints, marijuana activists said. Gieringer and Jones said they would push the city to lift its ban on smoking and other consumption of pot at the clubs and ease the requirement clubs be at least 1,000 feet from other dispensaries, schools, churches and youth facilities. "It's onerous and overburdensome," Jones said of the on-site consumption ban. Allowing on-site consumption protects patients from being forced to use the drug on the street, and provides a social outlet for shut-ins and access to other services, such as acupuncture and massage, medical marijuana advocates contend. Nadel said she favored a lifting of the on-site consumption ban, as long as employees or other patients weren't exposed to secondhand smoke. De La Fuente said the city's next step would be to establish reporting and operating regulations to ensure the dispensaries are operating lawfully, paying all federal, state and local taxes and maintaining adequate insurance. The  regulations also permit the city to audit the dispensaries to ensure they are not "excessively profitable," a provision that has not yet been enforced. To fund that review, the city would be forced to double the fees charged to the dispensaries, according to the report. Three of the clubs have 500 to 1,000 customers and pay $10,000 annually. The fourth has more than 1,500 customers and pays $20,000 a year. Lee said he was not opposed to the increased fee. "Especially because of all the city is doing to protect us from the federal government," Lee said. "I'm very proud to live in Oakland." Note: Activists eye more Oakland sites, longer hours.Source: Oakland Tribune (CA)Author: Heather MacDonald, Staff WriterPublished: April 11, 2005Copyright: 2005 MediaNews Group, Inc. Contact: triblet Website: Articles & Web Sites:O.C.B.C. NORML's For Safe Access Dispensaries Have Friends and Foes's Noble Pot Experiment Would Scatter Area's Marijuana Clinics 

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Comment #2 posted by AgaetisByrjun on April 11, 2005 at 08:57:39 PT
Narcs to pay students for tips on campus crimeMonday, April 11, 2005 Posted: 10:33 AM EDT (1433 GMT)
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Manage alerts | What is this?ROME, Georgia (AP) -- A high school is looking for a few good snitches.Using revenue from its candy and soda sales, Model High School plans to pay up to $100 for information about thefts and drug or gun possession on campus."It's not that we feel there are any problems here," said Principal Glenn White. "It's a proactive move for getting information that will help deter any sort of illegal activity."Under the new policy, a student would receive $10 for information about a theft on campus, $25 or $50 for information about drug possession, and $100 for information about gun possession or other serious felonies.Informants will not receive the reward if they are involved in the crime, White said.At nearby Rome High School, there is no similar program because students there have a rapport with officials and are comfortable providing information, said Superintendent Gayland Cooper."We feel the reward is the kids knowing they have a safe school," Cooper said.The idea for the program came from Kell High School in Marietta, an Atlanta suburb. There, student tips earlier this year led to the arrest of a classmate who had brought a handgun to school.No Model High students have received the reward yet, but some questioned the logic behind it. Jaime Parris, a senior, said that most students already would tell faculty about anything that threatened student safety."But if it's not going to hurt other people, I don't think many people are going to tell on their friends," she said.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 11, 2005 at 08:40:50 PT

News Article from Snipped Source
Medical Pot Puts Down Tulare Roots By Tim Sheehan, The Fresno Bee Sunday, April 10, 2005TULARE -- When James McLean decided to open a new nonprofit in town, he had a few more obstacles than other small-business operators. McLean recently opened Charity Caregivers of Tulare, or CCOFT, a medical marijuana information center and dispensary that serves about 50 patients from throughout the central San Joaquin Valley.CCOFT opened in March as a branch of a Bakersfield dispensary, American Kenpo Kung Fu School of Public Health, and within the past couple of weeks began providing medical-grade cannabis to patients with a doctor's prescription and an identification card certifying them as users of medical marijuana, McLean said."We're not here for people to get high. We're out here for people's health," McLean said.Snipped:Complete Article:
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