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Pot Club Hosts Open House For Politicians

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With several important elections coming up, Lynnette Shaw opened the doors of
the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Fairfax yesterday so politicians
running for local and national offices could get a first-hand look at her

Jack Gibson, candidate for Superior Court judge, Louis Nuyens, running for
the Board of Supervisors in District Four, and Libertarian U.S. Senate
candidate Jim Gray met with patients, saw the distribution of medication
and got a
rundown on how the clinic has continued to operate with the town's permission
since 1996.

"It was satisfying to see that they want to keep it within the law," Gibson
said afterward.

Shaw, who led an unsuccessful recall drive against District Attorney Paula
Kamena in 2000 and ran for Marin Healthcare District Director in 2002, said
invited a few other candidates - including Marin Superior Court Judge Michael
Dufficy - who didn't show up. But Shaw said yesterday's turnout was a success
because the candidates walked away with positive things to say about the
clinic and a new perspective on medical marijuana.

"It's clean and well-organized," said Nuyens, who helped draft the original
medical marijuana identification card and other forms used at Marin Alliance.
"It's amazing she's still open."

Shaw said Gray - an Orange County Superior Court judge on a one-year leave of
absence who advocates full legalization of marijuana for adults - initiated
the walkthrough back in November because his only experience with marijuana
evidence in court. She said he asked patients how long marijuana lasts, what
they have to do to buy it and even got to hold a bag of it.

"He was fascinated by it," she said.

During a public question and answer session afterward, Gray said he plans to
use Shaw and Marin Alliance on the campaign trail as proof that marijuana can
be managed effectively to provide comfort to people.

"I view her as the Mother Theresa of Marin," he said.

Shaw said she wasn't worried about inviting the candidates because the clinic
sticks to the rules - including regular audits required by the town and
strict enforcement about who can and can't buy.

In fact, she said she was excited to show off the clinic's expanded
offerings, including 15 different types of smokeable marijuana, an express
line and an
extended selection of foods such as peanut butter and jelly.

"It's called Smoker's instead of Smucker's," she said of the jelly. "It's
definitely got a punch to it."

Shaw said the patients and staff are extremely concerned about their privacy
so, after consulting with them, she decided to do a private tour for the
candidates rather than invite the public. Everyone understood the
importance of
showing the clinic in a positive light, but not everyone wanted to
she said.

"This is the first time we opened the door and said 'C'mon in,'" she said.
"Most patients don't like to talk about their problems."

As for big-name politicians, Shaw said she has invited Democratic U.S. Sen.
Barbara Boxer of Greenbrae and U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, but
neither has come for a visit. Woolsey never fails to send a handwritten note
saying why she can't make it, but Boxer always sends a form letter, she said.

"I'm sure it's due to her ( Woolsey's ) insane schedule," Shaw said. "But I
wish Boxer would pay attention to us."

Shaw said she would consider tours for nearly any politician because she
wants them to understand that Marin Alliance is a legitimate operation that
provides a legitimate function. So who is her most sought-after guest?

"Arnold Schwarzenegger," Shaw said. "I really want the governor to come by
and see our system."

by Tad Whitaker, (20 Jan 2004) Marin Independent Journal California