Pot Club Triggers Furor in Forestville

Pot Club Triggers Furor in Forestville
Posted by CN Staff on November 09, 2005 at 10:19:29 PT
By Paul Payne, The Press Democrat
Source: Press Democrat
California -- Days after closing a disputed medical marijuana dispensary in Santa Rosa, the owners reopened in Forestville, surprising Sonoma County officials and infuriating neighbors, who said the cannabis shop did not belong in their community.The opening clogged a parking lot with customer traffic Monday and caught the attention of county officials, who said Resource Green Caregivers and Patient Group is in violation of zoning laws and must close at once.
The Board of Supervisors in May adopted a moratorium on new dispensaries, in part because of complaints about Resource Green from its Santa Rosa neighbors."It's taken everybody by surprise," said Dr. Thomas Yatteau, who pointed to the dispensary from his Front Street medical office on Tuesday. "I looked out my window yesterday and the traffic was incredible. It was car after car after car."The cannabis club was closed Tuesday, with only a handwritten note on the door saying it would reopen today. Co-owner Ken Doerpinghaus did not return phone calls requesting comment.A recorded message on the dispensary's toll-free line confirmed the Forestville opening, but said the shop would be closed temporarily because owners were in negotiations with county officials for a use permit.The recording said Resource Green would begin a delivery service Friday."We look forward to seeing you and serving you very, very soon," the message said.Supervisor Mike Reilly, whose district includes Forestville, said the county would not give Resource Green permission to operate the dispensary.Reilly said the county was working on regulations similar to those adopted in Santa Rosa, and until then, new dispensaries were prohibited.If the dispensary did not immediately close, Reilly said the county might seek a court order to close it."It can't be there," he said. "It's just not a legal operation."Resource Green gained attention last spring with its pot club on Sonoma Avenue in Santa Rosa, where it served an estimated 2,400 customers.Neighbors complained of people smoking pot outside the dispensary and of traffic clogging the street. Police began an investigation and the City Council adopted dispensary restrictions in September.Resource Green's landlord sued and the dispensary agreed to move out. Neighbors said owners of the cannabis club packed up trucks Friday night.They moved to an office at the back of a two-story building that also has a coffee house and retail stores. Landlord Dave Johnson said he had been talking to the owners over the past few weeks."I believe in the medical end of the situation," he said.He would not say if the dispensary was permanent or whether the owners had signed a lease."They won't be open for business until they get all the particulars worked out," he said.Tenants of the Front Street building expressed concern Tuesday.Colleen McDivitt, co-owner of Journey's End Coffee House, said the dispensary was too close to schools. She said it would be better at the outskirts of the small, west county community of about 2,400, not crowded next to stores and restaurants."I have a lot of kids who come here," McDivitt said. "They could have picked a better spot."Yatteau said residents should have been given some warning. He said he asked dispensary managers Monday why they didn't tell neighbors they were moving in."They told me they let everyone know whose business it was to know," Yatteau said. "This was thrust down everybody's throat."Note: County may move to block shop after surprise opening.Source: Press Democrat, The (CA)Author: Paul Payne, The Press DemocratPublished: Wednesday, November 9, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Press DemocratContact: letters pressdemo.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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