Oakland City Council Considers Limiting Medical Marijuana Clubs
The Oakland City Council public safety committee on Tuesday voted against a plan to close all but one of the city's medical marijuana clubs and voted to delay the decision another month to do more research, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. After the federal government closed Oakland's first medical marijuana club in 1998, other clubs have been "rapidly proliferating" -- predominantly in an area north of City Hall -- to fill the needs of medical marijuana patients, according to the Chronicle. Two weeks ago the city estimated that there were eight clubs in the area, but now officials believe there are 11. City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente supports the proposal to close all but one of the clubs because he said that all of the current clubs are in violation of 1998 city legislation that says medical marijuana providers must be approved by the city. The legislation also contains stipulations regarding security, limits on hours during which marijuana can be sold, insurance and a ban on smoking pot at the club. In addition, De La Fuente maintains that at least half of the clubs are selling marijuana for recreational use, the Chronicle reports.
Council member Jean Quan said, "We have a right as a city to regulate" medical marijuana clubs. However, medical marijuana patients and advocates attending the meeting said that "limiting the number of clubs to one would be a death sentence," the Chronicle reports. The clubs' supporters say that the concentration of clubs gives the patients competitive pricing and choice. The clubs' owners did not address the council, citing fear that the federal government would shut down their clubs (DeFao, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/25).
The recall election is a "watershed" because all of the candidates support the medical use of marijuana, medical marijuana advocate Ed Rosenthal writes in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece. "[O]ne of my daydreams c[ame] true" when all of the candidates pledged to uphold California's medical marijuana laws, with the "most conservative" candidate, Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Northridge), the "most ardent -- stating that the federal government should stay out of the state's business," Rosenthal writes. While the candidates support medical marijuana, "there are definite differences in their attitudes toward what legal means and who should decide," which is significant because "some California state agencies are still at war against this popular medicine," Rosenthal states. How each candidate would implement Proposition 215 -- the 1996 ballot initiative allowing state physicians to recommend marijuana to sick patients -- is "of prime importance to the 70,000 Californians holding medical marijuana recommendations," Rosenthal writes (Rosenthal, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.