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Pot Dispensaries OK for City

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Stockton - The medical marijuana decisions being made in Stockton are important, but try to keep the scope of the issue in perspective.

It's not as if a layer of pot smoke is going to hover above the city because of three dispensaries opening. Make that the first three dispensaries - more certainly could come later as the city grows.

But many other cities are much further down this road, including our neighbors to the north.

Where It's Legal

The status of legalized medical marijuana dispensaries in San Joaquin and Calaveras counties:

Stockton: A medical marijuana ordinance restricts the number of dispensaries; a special committee last week selected three dis-pensary finalists.

Lodi: Medical pot dispensaries are prohibited.

Unincorporated county: Medical pot dispensaries are prohibited.

Manteca: Medical pot dispensaries are prohibited. Medical pot cooperatives/collectives are allowed.

Tracy: Medical pot dispensaries are prohibited.

Calaveras County: In 2005, supervisors approved an ordinance legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Sacramento Bee's website has an interactive map - updated within the past couple of months - that marks each dispensary with a marijuana-leaf icon. Click on the icon and call up information on the dispensary.

There are a couple of dozen places listed.

The Sacramento News and Review published its medical marijuana section in April, filled with news stories and advertisements from dispensaries. It was 48 pages.

In summary, these three dispensaries of ours are not going to impact overall life in a major way for most Stocktonians.

That doesn't mean the issues - and the process - are not important. As with many policies, the groundwork set early can help alleviate future problems.

Stockton certainly seems to be doing its due diligence about security measures. Requirements such as locked entrances, security guards, video surveillance, air filtration to cap pot smells and more are important.

In true Stockton fashion, there's been much more controversy about who is selected to run the dispensaries than where they're located or how many can open.

A virtual Who's Who of the Stockton business community are involved in the partnerships that are the leading contenders.

The three leaders among the nine contenders - Port of Stockton Wellness Center, Port City Health and Wellness and Stockton Patient Cooperative - all have ties to prominent lawyers, CEOs and other successful business people.

The process will play out over the next three or so months, with the Planning Commission and City Council ultimately making these decisions.

Expertise and experience from the north comes into play, too. The Stockton facilities would be run by operators of successful Sacramento dispensaries.

All of which should tell you that these will not be the stereotypical, old-school, cannabis "head shops" run by "hippies." There's money to be made, and people are lining up to make it.

It's important that citizens - and decision makers - do not lose sight of one key word in this debate: medical.

The ultimate reason for these dispensaries is to help patients with their medical needs. Let's hope that important fact doesn't get lost amid the debate over who makes money and the concern about having marijuana for sale legally.

NewsHawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Record, The (Stockton, CA)
Copyright: 2011 The Record
Contact: Recordnet.com
Website: Recordnet.com
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