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Palm Springs' Attorney Proposes Medical Marijuana Co-Ops


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City Attorney Douglas Holland said he has studied the issue for more than 18 months and plans to bring his proposal to the City Council in coming weeks. He said cooperatives would satisfy the need of the people and the laws of the state.

"Those collectives would have to be very narrowly tailored and organized," Holland said.

If the city council approves the cooperatives, Palm Springs will become one of the only cities in Riverside County to pass an ordinance allowing medical marijuana cooperatives.

In recent years, patients with recommendations from their doctors for medical marijuana have been caught in the crosshairs between state laws that allow them to have the drug and federal laws against it.

If approved by the City Council, the cooperatives would allow people with the appropriate paperwork or their caregivers to grow a small amount of marijuana for personal use, Holland said.

The city attorney's report on the cooperatives is expected to go before the council by early April, Holland said.

Councilman Lee Weigel, who served as police chief from 1997 to 2002, said he would have to know where the cooperative would be placed, what rules would govern it and whether it would attract crime before he could vote on it.

Weigel said dispensaries in other cities have been robbed and wants to ensure similar problems would not arise with a cooperative.

"There are a lot of issues that we would have to discuss before it could be taken to a vote," Weigel said.

Several attempts to reach other members of the City Council, including the mayor, were not successful.

The growth and distribution of medical marijuana by dispensaries has been outlawed in unincorporated areas of Riverside County and in many of its cities.

Valerie Corral and her husband have run a medical marijuana cooperative in Santa Cruz for 15 years. Volunteers help grow marijuana on the cooperative's property, harvest it and turn it into usable products such as baked goods and pills, Corral said.

Patients must have a state medical marijuana card issued by the counties and are not charged for their marijuana, which is distributed once a week, Corral said.

Some people grow their own marijuana on the property and return what they can't use to the cooperative, Corral said.

"When people work together, it is medicine itself," Corral said.

Source: The Press-Enterprise
Copyright: 2008 The Press-Enterprise
Contact: jlogan@PE.co
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