Claremont Insider: Marijuana Dispensary News

Friday, April 18, 2008

Marijuana Dispensary News

Daily Bulletin Reporter Wendy Leung has an article reporting on Rancho Cucamonga's City Council voting to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. The article said:

Councilman Dennis Michael said one reason he supports the ban is that police officers have cited an increase in crime in areas near dispensaries.

"That's certainly not the kind of business we want in this city," Michael said.

Rancho Cucamonga joins a host of neighboring cities that have enacted some kind of prohibition on businesses that sell medical marijuana.

Upland, Montclair, Redlands and Colton are some cities that have enacted a full ban. A temporary ban is in effect in La Verne and Highland.

Claremont, meanwhile, continues to slow roll its own marijuana dispensary ordinance, which would allow dispensaries, or at least a single dispensary, in town. The Claremont 400 is split on the issue, with the faction led by Mayor Ellen Taylor and Councilpersons Sam Pedroza and Linda Elderkin in favor of the ordinance.

The Claremont Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, on he other hand, has weighed in with a letter to the Claremont Courier in that paper's April 5th edition arguing against the dispensary ordinance.

The Chamber's primary concern is that allow the dispensaries would be in conflict with federal law. So, the letter said, "The Claremont Chamber of Commerce feels that it is a terrible business practice to open up our city, landowners and business districts to potential federal raids and prosecution."

The letter went on to cite some other specific concerns:

1. Safety—Other dispensaries in the state have been targets of burglaries and robberies, not just in the facility, but also “follow home” crimes where the patrons of such dispensaries have been the victims. We are concerned about the impact this potential crime would have on industrial, commercial and residential areas as well as the impact on the time commitment of our police department.

2. Employment—Businesses have a right to protect themselves and their customers by drug testing their employees to help maintain the quality and safety of their work environment. We are concerned with the issues that have surfaced in regards to the use of “medicinal marijuana” and protecting employer’s rights in terms of testing and workplace use of marijuana.

3. Health—Due to the fact that these facilities are not regulated pharmacies, it is unclear who would be in charge of enforcement of any health issues of such a facility including amounts, quality, cleanliness, etc. The Chamber is concerned that either these issues would be the responsibility of city staff, or even worse, go completely unmonitored.

Claremont's City Attorney, Sonia Carvalho has been working on the language for the ban, and one suspects that some excuse will crop up to slow any progress on the ordinance. Or, Carvalho will come up with something so restrictive as to make it impossible for any dispensaries to open. That way Taylor, et. al., could say they passed the ordinance without ever actually having to deal with a marijuana dispensary in Claremont.