Wildomar Residents Weigh In Medical Marijuana

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Jim Finnel

Cannabis Warrior - News Moderator
CA: A month after Wildomar shut down a storefront medical marijuana collective, the City Council on Wednesday heard testimony from medical marijuana advocates, a sheriff's deputy and a mental health expert.

The meeting could be a step toward passage of a law regulating, and thus allowing, medical marijuana dispensaries in the young city. Wildomar currently bans dispensaries.

It was unclear late Wednesday whether the council would ask for an ordinance to be drafted, the next step toward allowing marijuana facilities in the city. The discussion stretched well past 10 p.m.

An overflow crowd of about 75 had people waiting in the hallway for their turn to speak.

Christopher Fichtner, a physiatrist and the former director of mental health for Illinois, told the council he had interviewed many patients who said medical marijuana lessened their need for harsher medications.

"If when the rubber hits the road, and a patient says it's better than things that have side effects ... we should be allowing it, instead of coming up with a bunch of reasons why they can't," Fichtner said.

Other speakers expressed concerns about where the businesses would be located, or whether they should be allowed at all. Those remarks drew applause.

The council took up the issue last month after a storefront medical marijuana collective opened its doors. The nonprofit dispensary, Wildomar Patients Compassionate Group, was open for a weekend before the city ordered it closed.

At that point, council members said they needed to know more before deciding whether to adopt an ordinance. That led to Wednesday's meeting.

Now, the council is considering whether to allow medical marijuana businesses in certain areas of the city and, if so, how strictly to control them.

Kyle Castanon said he wanted to open a storefront in the city. He urged the council to pass a local law that would allow dispensaries but tightly control them.

Advocates claim bans against dispensaries are illegal because they conflict with Prop. 215, which allows the use of medical marijuana.

City leaders across the state are watching a court case involving Anaheim's ban. That case is expected to determine whether they are allowed under state law, said City Attorney Julie Hayward Biggs.


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