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Marijuana Clubs Getting Too Popular?

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OAKLAND, CALIF. - If there's an epicenter of the nation's medical
marijuana movement, it may be in a gritty six-block area near
Oakland's city hall, where at least 11 dispensaries sell pot to any
California resident with a doctor's note.

Since voters approved a state ballot measure legalizing medical
marijuana in 1996, "pot clubs" have popped up in San Francisco,
Hayward, Los Angeles and Santa Cruz, among other California cities.

But nowhere is their concentration as high as Oakland, leading some
residents of this famously tolerant city of 400,000 to wonder if the
proliferation of clubs has gone too far.

The city council is set to vote as early as next week on several
proposed restrictions, after complaints from some business owners,
ranging from the smoke to an escalation of street violence.

The proposals include requiring the clubs to have business licenses
and zoning rules that would limit the number of clubs in an area. The
city's far-reaching anti-smoking ordinance, which prohibits smoking in
any commercial building unless it has a separate ventilation system,
will likely be applied as well.

"I'm a strong supporter of implementing voters' wishes in making sure
medical marijuana is available to patients who need it," said council
member Nancy Nadel. "But because the industry has expanded quite
quickly in our city, we need to put some regulations in place.

Pubdate: Fri, 28 Nov 2003
Source: Capital Times, The (WI)
Copyright: 2003 The Capital Times
Contact: tctvoice@madison.com
Website: Cap Times