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Bumps In The Road For Medicinal Marijuana Dispensaries In Milpitas?

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Milpitas, CA. -- Medicinal marijuana supporters from all over the Bay Area turned out for Tuesday night's meeting of the Milpitas City Council Transportation and Land Use Subcommittee.

The biggest issue on the committee's agenda was further discussion of the idea of drafting a City ordinance that would allow medicinal marijuana dispensaries to exist in Milpitas.

As several other cities like San Jose draft ordinances limiting the existence of such dispensaries, Milpitas recently saw a chance to increase revenue, as well as show compassion for those in pain, by allowing dispensaries.

Many members of the public spoke out in favor of such an ordinance.

Jennifer Griffith, who said she lives in San Mateo County, said that a glass of lemonade with medicinal marijuana is far better than prescription pain killers for her daughter, who suffers from cancer and the side effects from her treatments.

She added, "A woman friend with breast cancer has nausea and headaches that are helped by prescribed cannabis."

"I don't like driving to Santa Cruz, San Francisco, or Oakland to fill my prescriptions. And Hayward 's dispensary is closed," said Donald Irving, adding that he felt "sun-grown" marijuana was best.

While pointing out that he realizes law enforcement agencies worry about a potential increase in gangs and cartels if such dispensaries are allowed, cultivation collective operator Hector Gonzales said, "I applaud you for supporting this. Other cities put something together that works for the needs of the people."

A patient since 1996, Kelly Reuss said she has to form a carpool to visit a dispensary in San Francisco.

"These people need the medicine. It's harmless," she said, adding that she believes "a good, supportive, peaceful resolution can be had."

Rob Means, a local activist, said the "War On Drugs" has totally failed.

"The prohibition of medicinal marijuana is bad public policy — bad for public health."

Milpitas City Councilmember Armando Gomez, who serves as the committee's chairman, said during the meeting that, after visiting facilities, his position changed from previously wanting to ban dispensaries, to promoting compassionate use.

Last month, the committee set a tentative goal of getting a City ordinance off the ground by December of 2011 or January of 2012. However, it appears there are still several issues the City needs to iron out before that can happen.

Milpitas City Attorney Mike Ogaz said during Tuesday night's committee meeting that federal law still prohibits marijuana, with no exemptions or exceptions for medicinal uses. He added that state decriminalization laws like California Proposition 215, approved by voters in 1996, doesn't affect federal laws.

"A permitting scheme like that in Long Beach may not be viable, " Ogaz said.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag recently sent letters to property owners that rent to collectives and dispensaries threatening federal seizures, according to Ogaz.

City Councilmember Althea Polanski, who serves on the committee, asked Ogaz if there were risks for the City, should it go through with drafting an ordinance allowing medicinal marijuana dispensaries in Milpitas.

Ogaz responded, "The Federal U.S. Attorney letters imply liability for municipalities."

Gomez and Polanski said they were not ready at this point to draft an ordinance.

The Subcommittee agreed to meet again on Nov. 22 to hear testimony from several parties, including medical experts; Milpitas Chief of Police Dennis Graham, who will speak about on security costs and crime issues associated with approving such an ordinance; and City staff, who will discuss applicable revenue and taxation matters.


News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: milpitas.patch.com
Author: Frank De Smidt
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Patch
Website: Bumps in the Road for Medicinal Marijuana Dispensaries in Milpitas?
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