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Meeting On Marijuana


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Claremont city politicians talk to dispensary hopeful

Several members of the City Council have met quietly with a marijuana activist who hopes to open a dispensary in the city.

David Kasakove, a Claremont native who has operated two dispensaries in Northern California, outlined his vision for a Claremont marijuana dispensary during individual meetings Friday with three council members.

The city has a moratorium in place that prohibits dispensaries, but the council is set to revisit the issue in early July. If the council allows dispensaries to operate in the city, Kasakove hopes that officials will take his bid seriously.

"What we've done is taught by example," Kasakove said. "If the city has concerns, we would address those concerns. We're not looking for a fight with the city at all."

Kasakove, 43, a Humboldt County resident, graduated from Claremont High School in 1982. Two years ago, former classmates who were aware of his involvement in medical marijuana suggested that he open a dispensary in Claremont, Kasakove said.

He closely followed the city's battle with Darrell Kruse, who opened a dispensary last year against the wishes of the city and adopted a confrontational attitude in his dealings with public officials.

The city sued Kruse for operating without a business license and demanded that he close his dispensary. Kruse was ordered by a judge to shut down in February.

Kasakove decided he would take a different approach.

He bought a $300 suit, and "actually cut my hair for the first time in 40 years," he said. "I wanted to deal with (city officials) on their level."

On Friday, Kasakove met individually with Mayor Peter Yao, Councilwoman Ellen Taylor and Councilman Sam Pedroza. The meetings ranged in length from 30 minutes to one hour.

"There's a big difference between the way these guys are approaching us and the way Darrell Kruse came into the city, with firebombs and rockets," Pedroza said.

Kasakove is in the process of creating a nonprofit corporation, called California Harm Reduction Cooperative, for his Claremont dispensary.

He said Tuesday he is willing to submit to regulations from the city, including limits on operating hours, limits on the quantity of marijuana sold per month to each patient, and limits to the proximity of his dispensary to schools and churches.

He also said that he is willing to open his records to Claremont police about different strains of marijuana sold and the amount sold to each patient.

Kasakove formerly ran dispensaries in Eureka and Chico which have since closed down. He said that in the past 10 years, the state's medical marijuana program has been taken over by "cowboys" who care only about money.

Through his Claremont operation, Kasakove said he hopes to create a template for the ideal dispensary, which could then be replicated across the state.

Last month the City Council declined to pass a staff-recommended ban on dispensaries, citing the need for more information on the issue. Several City Council members gave statements at the meeting that indicated a willingness to allow dispensaries.

The council will revisit the issue at its July 10 meeting, City Manager Jeff Parker said. At that meeting, the council will have ordinances prepared by staff to do one of three things: allow dispensaries, ban them or extend the moratorium for a year.

"We're here because this council did not want to make a rash decision about medical marijuana dispensaries in Claremont," Pedroza said. "I think we wanted to see a lot more thought put into it, and that's what we're expecting to get at this next council meeting."

Newshawk: CoZmO - 420 Magazine
Source: Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Author: Will Bigham
Contact: will.bigham@dailybulletin.com
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Newspaper Group
Website: DailyBulletin.com - Meeting on marijuana
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"Kasakove is in the process of creating a NONPROFIT corporation"

"the state's medical marijuana program has been taken over by "cowboys" who care only about money"

wow a good guy...instead of a robber.
even offering transparency into his financial records, he rocks!!

Hunny Glo

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This is progress in the right direction, see what happens when someone talks on the city's level. He was taken seriously and the issue is a discussion now because of his approach, demeanor and image . This is a great example of how other cities should be approached and worked with when applying for a business license for a co-op or dispensary.
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