MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Sacramento Shift Spurs Opening Of San Francisco Club
The new administration in Sacramento has "indicated tacit support for a new" marijuana club to open in San Francisco, even though it "may be headed straight for a federal shutdown," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. While the city "has been bereft of legal pot since" a judge ordered the San Francisco Cannabis Cultivators Club to close in April, advocates say they are ready to make a new run now that Bill Lockyer (D) is attorney general. Jane Weirick, the executive director of the San Francisco Patients Resource Center, said her group is searching for a building to house the new club. She said, "We plan to run a very tight ship, using the model for the Oakland Cannabis Club, which set up a very workable system. In fact, the Oakland club will handle all our eligibility paperwork and issue our membership cards. They're already geared up to do it, and there's no point in reinventing the wheel." She said tight enforcement of eligibility, determined by medical necessity, will ensure the "legality of the operation under Proposition 215."
It's A Health Issue
San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan said he supports the concept of marijuana clubs, so long as they are regulated. "I've always said that it is more of a health issue than a legal issue. Locally, this should strictly be a matter for the city department of health." But Evelyn James of the San Francisco Office of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency said, "Our position is that because [marijuana] is a controlled substance, it would be appropriate to move against a new club." Lockyer spokesperson Hilary McLean said while the AG supported the initiative, "he sees some real problems with 215." McLean added, "Bill wants to work out some kind of accommodation with the federal government and state legislators so that the people who truly need this medicine can get it." With the specter of government shutdown looming at any time, Weirick said the new entity will have separate distribution and administration centers. "That way, we'll be able to conduct patient support even if the clinic (where the marijuana is dispensed) is forced to close" (Martin, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/14). Click here for previous coverage of pot clubs in California.