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San Joaquin County supervisors ban rural marijuana dispensaries

Lodi to decide on permanent ban at tonight's meeting

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Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:39 am, Wed Mar 2, 2011.

While the Lodi City Council considers final action tonight to ban medical marijuana dispensaries within its city limits, San Joaquin County supervisors unanimously banned them for rural areas on Tuesday.

The Lodi City Council unanimously voted to establish an ordinance banning dispensaries in February, though a second vote, which will take place tonight, is required to officially ban the substance. The Galt City Council previously voted to ban dispensaries.

And on Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors officially banned dispensaries by a 5-0 vote. Board chairman Larry Ruhstaller said that if the county allowed medical marijuana in unincorporated areas, dispensaries could be built just outside the Lodi city limits.

"We'd be telling the citizens of Lodi, 'We don't care what you think,'" Ruhstaller said.

The Board of Supervisors' only discretion is for areas outside any of the seven cities in San Joaquin County, so the board's action Tuesday means only that dispensaries can't be operated in communities like Woodbridge, Acampo, Lockeford, Clements and Morada.

Nevertheless, you will only have to go as far as Stockton to purchase medical marijuana, because the Stockton City Council has voted to allow up to three dispensaries there, Myles said.

Lodi resident Robin Rushing told supervisors on Tuesday that he has tried without success to get the Lodi City Council to allow dispensaries in the city.

"I need the medical marijuana," Rushing said. "It's something that works for me very, very well. It takes pain away from my legs."

Lockeford resident Robert Davis said he has mixed emotions. It's here to stay anyway, he said, since medical marijuana is legal as nearby as Stockton and Calaveras County, but he thinks it would be a good idea to observe how Stockton handles its ordinance.

Deputy County Counsel Mark Myles said there are several problems with having dispensaries: The federal Food and Drug Administration says that marijuana use is a likelihood for abuse; enforcement will be complex and expensive; state and federal laws are contradictory; and the issue of storefront dispensaries isn't addressed by the federal or state governments.

San Joaquin is the 13th county to ban medical marijuana, and 142 cities in California ban it, Myles said.

County Undersheriff John Picone said that policing dispensaries in unincorporated areas would require manpower and money the county can't afford. The other issue facing the Sheriff's Office is the conflict of interest generated by allowing medical marijuana even though federal law prohibits it.

Lodi's ordinance does not prohibit residents from growing their own personal marijuana or caregivers from growing it for a patient with a medical marijuana card. Care centers are also exempt, so if someone is caring for five people who all have cards, they would not have to comply with the ordinance.

Supervisor Steve Bestolarides voted with his colleagues to ban dispensaries in rural areas, but he thinks the state should decide the issue and not leave it to California's 58 counties and hundreds of cities to decide separately.

Supervisor Leroy Ornellas said enforcement would be very unmanageable in rural areas.

Today's Lodi City Council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Carnegie Forum, 305 W. Pine St.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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  • Andrew Conley posted at 4:02 pm on Thu, Mar 3, 2011.

    Andrew Conley Posts: 6

    No see that's the point you are missing.... That's why I asked you earlier if you have ever had an injury that caused you to use any prescribed drug. If so you were most likely prescribed something like vicodin or norco. If you can be prescribed a drug like those, which you can easily overdose with, why is it that a dispensary is shunned upon by people that have taken drugs that can kill you, and create a much more violent black market compared to marijuana. Let them open the dispensaries and regulate the marijuana in a secured environment. That's another thing to point out too. You go to a pharmacy, they don't have a security guard. You go to the majority of all dispensaries here in California and some have one person, and others have multiple armed guards. So you tell me which is better, regulating at pharmacies with no security, or dispensaries with security.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 2:41 pm on Thu, Mar 3, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Kevin... thanks for addressing the grammar issue for the grammar policewoman.

    Kevin stated…stick to the topic of why marijuana, which kills far less than any of alcohol, tobacco, salt or fast food a year. More people destroy their lives with getting drunk than using pot. More people are killed because OTHERS use alcohol than pot. And kids to young adults become mindless zombies playing video games just as easy as pot.

    Hummm.. maybe, if you are correct, it means that the existing law is doing a good job in managing peoples behavior. Maybe if it were legal, the statistics would completely change… I do not know… nobody can until there is experience to back it up…
    I do not like alcohol and rarely drink even socially, so no comment from me about that.

    Andrew stated…You are clearly illiterate and ignorant of the situation…
    I would expect it appears that way to you Andrew… that is the whole point. I respected your position because you have different experiences than me. However, how can I relate or understand what you have experienced if I had not experienced what you have. In the reverse, you can not relate to me, as you have not experienced what I have. That does not make you ignorant or illiterate… just different experience. I think you revealed your level of understanding by making the comments you did. Maybe in 10 years, you will have a different perspective.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 12:17 pm on Thu, Mar 3, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 1880

    Green tea is my drug of choice. Nothing beats a perfect blend, iced on a hot day.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 12:15 pm on Thu, Mar 3, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 1880

    "more wiser" should be just "wiser". There now the grammar police can skip spending the next five posts addressing that and stick to the topic of why marijuana, which kills far less than any of alcohol, tobacco, salt or fast food a year. More people destroy their lives with getting drunk than using pot. More people are killed because OTHERS use alcohol than pot. And kids to young adults become mindless zombies playing video games just as easy as pot. How about from sniffing glue and aerosols? If someone wants to escape from their lives they are going to find a way to do it. Pot isn't the disease, it is the symptom. And yes, I have had family affected by drug use. My sister started young and is still using into her 40's, what hurt her life the most? Being intoxicated most of the time.

    Forget the billions that could be garnered from the heavy taxation (like alcohol) of pot if legalized, how about the billion dollar industry of hemp. From fabric used for everything, to paper, rope, cosmetics, and new tech even allows it to be used in construction materials. I even heard a story of a guy making cola out of it. I would think, in a sagging economy that having a new source of jobs/tax revenue would be appealing.

    Other pluses would be that it would cripple the drug cartels and open jail space (people convicted while still illegal would have to finish their sentences).

  • Andrew Conley posted at 10:29 am on Thu, Mar 3, 2011.

    Andrew Conley Posts: 6

    Darrel you are right your experience is completely different then mine. You are clearly illiterate and ignorant of the situation. Just because your son lived in San Fran doesn't mean anything. San Fran is filled with so many insanely over drugged people that do more than smoke a little bit of marijuana. So don't act like you know what marijuana can do for those who don't abuse it like others out there. I am not a shut in and it's not like I haven't been to San Fran or Oakland. In fact I lived in Vallejo for 3 years and I saw more there then I have any where else. So you are preaching to the choir. Don't for one second think that just because you are older that you are more wiser and have experienced more than I have.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 1:12 am on Thu, Mar 3, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Andrew stated...Kevin, yes it is less dangerous than alcohol by a long shot...

    Andrew... this is not my experience... I have had friends that I watched change into different people that I did not recognise... I guess it depends on how you define dangerous... I personally will never try this drug even if on my death bed.

    Andrew stated...Darrel, There are regulations that you must abide by for State laws....
    This is not my experience as well... so many loop holes and people who ignor regulation that I simply do not believe you have met the people I have and seen what I have... If you lived and were a local in SanFrancisco, you might see that regulations mean very little. My son lived there for 10 years and I visited and experienced what existed. Not saying you are wrong but your experience does not match mine.

  • Andrew Conley posted at 6:14 pm on Wed, Mar 2, 2011.

    Andrew Conley Posts: 6

    Kevin, yes it is less dangerous than alcohol by a long shot. It is less also less dangerous that prescribed processed drugs. They are regulating it already just not to the same standard as alcohol.

    Darrel, There are regulations that you must abide by for State laws. The example of San Fran is a slippery slope based off the fact that 1.) I guarantee that you have never actually been to a dispensary, 2.) Though the dispensaries in San Fran aren't the best looking places, but they still have security, 3.) Nobody can just walk in and getting an ordered prescription from off the streets, you must have a recommendation, 4.) One you must be 18 to be prescribed a medicinal marijuana recommendation. Raising it to the age of 21 is fine to me. Regulate it just like alcohol.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 3:02 pm on Wed, Mar 2, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Andrew Conley posted at 12:26 pm…All of you are so ridiculous! You are making arguments that have absolutely no relativity to the situation at hand… then…Let me ask you a question. Have you had such an excruciating pain in any part of your body that keeps you from sleeping at night? Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night because its so cold out that it causes your injury to swell up and throb?

    Andrew… I empathize with having pain and finding solutions for it. If I were in your circumstance, I would want a solution as well. My only concern is that this area does not become a San Francisco type area where just about anyone anytime can go to these dispensaries and order this drug…medical condition or not…
    I would be more comfortable if the drug was like any other where it could be dispensed at a Riteaid or Walgreens type RX facility. Im not sure of the answer… but I do not like the current system at all and think the county made the right decision.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 12:44 pm on Wed, Mar 2, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 1880

    Andrew, to be clear I support relegating Marijuana to the same laws and restrictions as alcohol. It is less dangerous than alcohol.

    And before anyone says it is just so i can get high, I'm 39 and never smoked a joint, never had the desire to smoke a joint.

  • Andrew Conley posted at 12:26 pm on Wed, Mar 2, 2011.

    Andrew Conley Posts: 6

    All of you are so ridiculous! You are making arguments that have absolutely no relativity to the situation at hand. The entire subject is whether or not they should have operable Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in the outskirts of San Joaquin county. I have now had my Medical Marijuana Card for two years now and it helps me every day by allowing me to have complete possession of marijuana to help with chronic pain.

    Let me ask you a question. Have you had such an excruciating pain in any part of your body that keeps you from sleeping at night? Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night because its so cold out that it causes your injury to swell up and throb? Well I have. I shattered my lower left fibula and tore every ligament and tendon holding my ankle to my tibia and fibula playing rugby and I currently have a titanium plate and six titanium bolts in my leg. Every night that it gets cold it throbs. It constantly wakes me up and causes excruciating pain just above my ankle. In fact I technically have a symptom of Post-Traumatic Arthritis in my ankle. I am only 23 and I have arthritis. Guarantee most people won't start gaining any symptoms of arthritis until their later years.

    So why is it that everybody is on board of banning Medical Marijuana Dispensaries when marijuana is a simple plant that only requires sunlight, nutrients and water, but the State and Federal Government is okay with legalizing Norco, Percocet , Vicodin, and Morphines that are all clearly chemically processed drugs and can easily kill a person if an overdose occurs??? Everybody in this country is so cynical when the subject of providing Medical Marijuana is asked. They think the absolutely extreme situation where there will be gang wars and battles in the middle of the streets. STOP IT!!! That is called a slippery slope and it's an asinine statement.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 7:23 am on Wed, Mar 2, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 1880

    Darrell, if I remember right from a past conversation you hold alcohol and drugs like marijuana in the same category of should not be legal, right?

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 3:43 am on Wed, Mar 2, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Mr Kyle ... can you please direct the public to examples worldwide where what you prefer exists and is beneficial to its society... thank you.

  • Malcolm Kyle posted at 2:38 am on Wed, Mar 2, 2011.

    Malcolm Kyle Posts: 2

    Alcohol prohibition in the US run from 1919 to 1933 - Now google 'The Great Wall Street Crash' and see when that happened!

    During alcohol prohibition, all profits went to enrich thugs and criminals. Young men died every day on inner-city streets while battling over turf. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have gone on education etc. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally the economy collapsed. Sound familiar?


    China has recently been in negotiation with a number of countries, asking them to replace the Dollar with the Chinese Yuan as their reserve currency. This, when it happens, will remove the Federal Government's ability to keep printing cash to cover the trillions it costs to fund prohibition. It’ll mean true freedom but the transition period may well bring consequences that are far more horrific than a slasher movie. -- It never had to be this way; we should have learned our lesson from studying the mayhem that alcohol prohibition wreaked on us.

    We all have our victories and defeats as regards fear, but most of us strive not to let fear rule our hearts or our minds. Being free means being free to live and love as if death and fear had no power over us. Freedom also means that we have an ethical and moral responsibility to expose blind hate, lies and ignorance by shining eternal light, truth and love, sending such dark forces fleeing to the shadows from whence they came.

    We explore outer space with various forms of space craft, but many choose to explore inner space via nature's abundant chemistry - an infinite journey into the heart of God. Whatever, we are here to explore this glorious universe. The Prohibitionist's brand of hateful, choking pseudo-Conservatism is the antithesis of all that. Like a lion who cannot grasp that he can do more than walk in a circle the size of the cage he's recently been freed from, the prohibitionist is incapable of exploration beyond the boundaries of his own fear, prejudice and loathing. We are all free to choose how we walk our own path, but when we choose to go beyond this by supporting drug-war demagoguery, to the point of even threatening others with imprisonment and physical violence, we loose the right to expect any form of respect from the once free and prosperous society that we are helping to totally destroy.

    Thanks to prohibition we're about to lose all semblance of that once ordered, prosperous and safe society. Myself, along with many others, have been debating prohibitionists on this for many years. We have shown what destruction prohibition has wrought on all the civil institutions of this once great nation, -we've always provided facts and statistics - they, the prohibitionists, have countered with either lies, personal abuse or even serious threats of violence.

    Ending the insanity of drug prohibition by legalized regulation, respecting the rights of the responsible users and focusing on addiction as a sickness, like we do with alcohol and tobacco, may save what remains of our economy and civil institutions along with countless lives and livelihoods. Prohibition continues unabated for shameful political reasons. It cannot, and never will, reduce drug use or addiction.

    Prohibition has permanently scarred our national character as well as our individual psyches. Our national policies and cultural practices have become pervaded by the fascistic, prohibitionist mind-set which has turned our domestic police force into a bunch of paramilitary thugs who often commit extra-judicial beatings and executions while running roughshod over our rights in order to "protect us from ourselves".

    When we eventually manage to put the horrors of this toxic moronothon behind us, we'll need to engage in some very deep and honest soul-searching as to what we want to be as a nation. Many of our freedoms have been severely circumscribed or lost altogether, our economy has been trashed and our international reputation for being "free and fair" has been dragged through a putrid sewer by vicious narrow-minded drug warrior zealots who are ignorant of abstract concepts such as truth, justice and decency. We'll need to make sure that such a catastrophe is never ever repeated. This may mean that public hearings or tribunals will be held where those who’ve been the instigators and cheerleaders of this abomination will have to answer for their serious crimes against our once prosperous and proud nation.

    Each day you remain silent, you help to destroy the Constitution, fill the prisons with our children, and empower terrorists and criminals worldwide while wasting hundreds of billions of your own tax dollars. Prohibition bears many strong and startling similarities to Torquemada­'s inquisition­, it's supporters are servants of tyranny and hate. If you're aware of but not enraged by it's shear waste and cruel atrocities then both your heart and soul must surely be dead.

    Prohibition engendered black market profits are obscenely huge. Remove this and you remove the ability to bribe or threaten any government official or even whole governments. The argument that legalized regulation won't severely cripple organized crime is truly bizarre. Of course, the bad guys won't just disappear, but if you severely diminish their income, you also severely diminish their power. The proceeds from theft, extortion, pirated goods etc. are a drop in the ocean compared to what can be earned by selling prohibited/unregulated drugs in a black market estimated to be worth 400,000 million dollars. Without the lure and power of so much easy capital, it's also very unlikely that new criminal enterprises will ever fill the void left by those you successfully disrupt or entirely eradicate.

    Millions of fearless North Africans have recently shown us that recognizing oppression also carries the weight of responsibility to act upon and oppose that oppression.

    The drug czar's office is not only unnecessary but also the greatest waste of space since vows of fidelity were included in the christian marriage service.



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