Taft Temporarily Prohibits Medical Marijuana Store

  Taft Temporarily Prohibits Medical Marijuana Store

Posted by CN Staff on January 04, 2007 at 07:26:50 PT
By Louis Medina, Californian Staff Writer 
Source: Bakersfield Californian 

California -- When Taft Police Chief Bert Pumphrey recently learned someone was looking to open a local medical marijuana dispensary, he acted swiftly in light of unresolved state and federal legal issues in this controversial matter.Pumphrey went to the Taft City Council meeting Dec. 19 "to request an emergency moratorium to allow time for the planning department to look at zoning issues and ... for the resolution of pending litigation in California courts."
And the City Council responded just as swiftly, passing by a 5-0 vote a 45-day emergency interim ordinance temporarily prohibiting medical marijuana establishments in Taft, according to City Councilman Cliff Thompson."I want to err on the side of caution," Thompson said.But just what exactly is making Taft police and city officials wary? After all, Proposition 215, which was passed in California in 1996 and is also known as the "Compassionate Use Act," allows people with a valid doctor's recommendation to grow and use marijuana for personal medical reasons.The problem is that even as the state has continued to uphold this law, the federal government still prosecutes people for possession and use of marijuana -- even those claiming to use it for medicinal purposes. "There is a conflict there and until that conflict is resolved, I would rather wait and see," Thompson said. "I would also like to see how many people in our community need this service."The city of Taft is not alone in seeking a resolution banning the opening of local marijuana dispensaries.Azusa in Southern California is another city that is in the process of passing such a resolution, according to a recent Associated Press article.And on Sept. 8, 2004, the Bakersfield City Council passed and adopted a resolution whereby medical marijuana dispensaries are not permitted within the city of Bakersfield, city attorney Ginny Gennaro said. The vote was unanimous, Gennaro said, with Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan absent.Gennaro said this was before the case of Gonzales v. Raich, in which the U.S. Supreme Court decided in June 2005 that the federal government has the power to ban marijuana even when states approve its use for medicinal purposes, as the U.S. Constitution allows Congress to regulate interstate commerce."We take the position that the fact that federal law says marijuana is a controlled substance makes it of unlawful use," Gennaro said.Other Taft city officials also don't want to get caught in the middle of a state-versus-federal legal battle.Taft city attorney Kathy Gibson, who was also at the Dec. 19 meeting, said "some legal authorities have suggested that in a worst-case scenario the city or any other public agency might, under federal law, be aiding and abetting" in the trafficking of a controlled substance by allowing marijuana dispensaries."I don't believe federal or state laws have been clearly defined in allowing this type of business to be a public retail business," said Taft Mayor Paul Linder."If it's a prescribed medication, the doctor needs to put it down in a prescription form and we should be able to go down to Rite Aid or a local pharmacy and have it dispensed there," Linder said, "just like other controlled medications."Neither Pumphrey nor Thompson is sure Proposition 215 requires cities to allow dispensaries and Pumphrey said that, in his mind, a marijuana dispensary is basically a "drug dealer." Neither has ever been to any of the half-dozen dispensaries that exist in Kern County, nor knows the address of one nor knows what one looks like inside, each said.Jim McGowen, owner of American Caregivers Collective on Gilmore Avenue in Oildale, was happy to describe what the inside of his dispensary looks like.* You enter, he said, and come upon a professional-looking counter where patients present their doctor's recommendation for using marijuana for medicinal purposes. The recommendation is verified just the same as a prescription, he said, and has to be from a state-licensed physician.* About 10 feet away from the counter is a small room with two glass display cases containing acrylic jars with different strains of "cannabis medication." People choose the strain that's right for them by sight or smell, he said.* There is no marijuana paraphernalia for sale at his dispensary, McGowen said. There are no live plants for people to take home and grow themselves. What his clients get is the dried bud in a sealable plastic bag with a warning label reminding consumers that the medicinal herb is for personal use and nontransferrable, is to be kept out of children's reach and should not be used while operating heavy machinery.McGowen said a medical marijuana dispensary in Taft would be a positive thing."It's helping a lot of people," McGowen said. "There are people who are driving 30, 40 miles wasting gas and money to buy it. If they had it there they wouldn't have to travel so far." He said his dispensary helps "hundreds" of people every month who are suffering from diverse ailments: nausea, chronic pain, mental health conditions and other sufferings.Both Thompson and Pumphrey said there were no opinions either in favor of or against the council's vote from citizens attending the Taft public hearing.For now one thing is clear: No marijuana dispensaries will be opening up in Taft anytime soon."Prior to the 45 days running out I will be asking the council to extend that," Pumphrey said. "And most likely the allowable extension would be for a total of two years."He said if during that time the courts rule that Taft has to allow for a local dispensary, "we'll deal with it at that time."Source: Bakersfield Californian, The (CA)Author: Louis Medina, Californian Staff WriterPublished: January 3, 2007Copyright: 2007 The Bakersfield CalifornianContact: opinion bakersfield.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #6 posted by OverwhelmSam on January 04, 2007 at 15:46:30 PT
You Know What I Like About...
Is that everyone there is a huge and growing movement fighting the government at all levels to relax the marijuana laws. Law suits, political damage, police indictmemnts and were growing as a community. Even the average young housewife knows the benefit of being able to smoke a little at the end of hectic day. 
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Comment #5 posted by museman on January 04, 2007 at 13:56:11 PT
Absolutely!Here in Oregon there is a movement amongst law enforcement to make marijuana users as poor and dis-enfranchised as they can. The new 'patriot act' has given them 'discretionary powers.'A young man who frequents my house came with a tale of how he was harrassed for pulling over on the side of the road to use his cell phone. Someone called him in as 'suspicious' and the cops were there in about a minute. Out of the car, illegal search based on the 'probable cause' of the cop's 'trained perception.' Unfortunately he had a small anount of pot.Because he denied them permission to search his vehicle, and they did it anyway (with no spoken just cause) they wisely knew they had no legal case, and they just poured his herb out on the ground. He was one of the lucky ones.So meanwhile, politically speaking it is business as usual. The rich still rule the world with 99% of their patsy politicians in their fat pockets, an unjust, illegal war still wages and the body count continues to rise. Humanity continues to suffer under the onus of the rich mans power-dreams, and those (in other countries) who have been tweaked beyond sane response have taken up arms and entered the ranks of 'freedom fighters' called 'terrorist' by the true terrorists of the world, the cops, mayors, senators, congressmen, presidents and kings, whose own 'rulers' speak with dollar amounts instead of common language.When Linda Fromme stated that Ford was not a public servant, she wasn't just talking about Ford. The fact that she was tweaked doesn't alter the facts. That was about 30 years ago. No public servants that I have ever heard of (except out of their own lying mouths) have shown up in all that time, and if they did they were shot down quietly and quickly.America is in a sad state. If the land itself did not attach itself so to my heart, and the Great Spirit did not speak of it's potential greatness as a land of free and enlightened people, someday, I would have gone to the island of Sorovov many years ago, never to return.However, I 'served' my country during another of it's grand debacles - Vietnam, and I saw that greatness mirrored in some of it's people. I saw true heroism - not on the battlefield, but on Americas streets. I saw greatness not in it's media picks, but in it's true unsung, unknown heroes who stand tall in their integrity if very little else.I so would like to 'give up on America' but there are events and advents in the wind which have much hope and promise, even if our leaders are blind because of their own complicity with the economic powers. Our leaders are a minority, and if it weren't for the consistent wars which train men and some women to be thugs and killers - so that we have a police force of cold-hearted assholes to oppress us and keep us in line, we could just march peacefully on Washington and take it back. Jim Morrison said,"They got the guns, but we got the numbers." That was over 30 years ago. Was any body listening?Apparently the feds were, because they stepped up their police state almost immediately. How many of those politicians are always whining about 'crime' and the 'need for more cops' on the street? All of 'em.WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!!
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on January 04, 2007 at 10:43:17 PT

Related Article About Dispensaries
Fate of Tracy `Cannabis Club' To Be Decided Today***January 4, 2007TRACY — While the national debate over the use of medical marijuana has yet to be settled, city officials hope to resolve the confusion over whether or not "cannabis clubs" that distribute the drug to patients are allowed under the city code.The situation has come to a head after Tracy's own cannabis club, The Valley Wellness Center, 130 W. 11th St., continued to operate after being ordered to close by the city.A hearing is set to be held 2 p.m. today at Tracy City Hall and according to city officials, a local attorney has volunteered to serve as the hearing officer. Although there is nothing in the city code specifically banning medical marijuana dispensaries, there's also nothing that allows for it. In November the club was ordered by city code enforcement officers to "discontinue the non-listed use of distributing medical marijuana."The city also contends the group misrepresented themselves on their business license, saying their activity would be "retail sales conducted by a non-profit corporation."An attorney for the dispensary said they provide a benefit to the community on a non-profit basis and called the city's legal position — anything not explicitly permitted is therefore prohibited — "dubious and infringes on constitutionally protected property rights."In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215 — the Compassionate Use Act — providing the seriously ill with the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes.The San Joaquin County District Attorney's office interprets the retail sale of marijuana, even to those who have a doctor's recommendation, as illegal.Copyright: 2006 ANG Newspapers
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on January 04, 2007 at 09:52:45 PT

Articles like this always get me fuming, because it illustrates the power and completeness of the tyranny we are currently living under.Or maybe it's just an instinctive reaction from being brainwashed about American "freedom" and a "free country" in public schools for 15 years. Then slowly realizing that people can't even open a store and sell things to each other without years of legal work and approval from a huge, 3-tiered government bureaucracy that stretches from your home town to Washington, DC. Want to enjoy a beer in an outdoor cafe with your friends and neighbors? (after a hard day at work paying your government masters 50% of course) Want to walk to a coffewsshop in your neighborhood? Want to look at woman's breasts? Good luck. Unless you convince the sleazy political clas$$ and your hateful, intolerant neighbors. Welcome to the land of the free.Basically, the only "freedoms" we really have are sitting on the couch, eating and watching TV. Try to do almost anything else and you'll run headlong in a HUGE crew of professional parasites, sponging and litigating their way through your hard-earned savings.
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Comment #2 posted by Dankhank on January 04, 2007 at 09:19:37 PT

a while back I posted the proposed text of a MM law for Oklahoma that was quite long and detailed. a question arose as to why was it so long.This and other stories show why ...City Attorneys likely view these proposals as a test, akin to their law school days, and parse them to find any loophole.till compassion rules their hearts we must play Simon sez ...If we say you can, you can. We say nothing, you can do nothing.This is the first time I have noticed you, dirtmover. Welcome.If you've been here before, shame on me, but don't take it personal.Peace to all who are compassionate ...
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Comment #1 posted by dirtmover on January 04, 2007 at 08:54:40 PT

I'm afraid that another ptoposition, spelling out requirements is needed, here.Cities are using various legal dodges to avoid allowing dispensaries within their city limits.Some blatantly illegal, like the zoning used by the city of Elk Grove.Some law enforcement agencies flatly refuse to recognize prop 215 as law and steal patient's gardens, daring the patient to sue to recover what is often immature and moldy medicine.
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