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Marijuana Dispensaries: Magnet for Blight or Revenue Generator for a Cash Strapped City?

The Petaluma City Council will discuss the city's ban on marijuana dispensaries

Lifting Petaluma’s ban on marijuana dispensaries will once again be a topic of discussion at tonight’s council meeting.

Petaluma has had a ban on marijuana dispensaries since 2007, but many in town favor removing it, including at least three council members, who say the industry can give the city a much-need cash infusion to fund everything from road repair to youth activities.

There are currently 12 dispensaries in Sonoma County, but none that serve the southern portion of the county, according to Robert Jacob, executive director of Peace in Medicine Healing Center, a Sebastopol-based dispensary that also offers acupuncture and massage.

Jacob estimates Petaluma could get roughly $500,000 a year from sales tax from a dispensary. But more importantly, it would take an crucial step toward providing safe access to people suffering from ailments like cancer, joint paint and glaucoma instead of sending them to the black market to obtain medicine.

But Interim Police Chief Dan Fish has said that if the ban is lifted, Petaluma Police will be put in a position of having to enforce federal law, which only allows primary caregivers to supply medical marijuana to patients, but bans dispensaries, andwhich he says, supersedes state law.

“The council should understand (that) allowing medical marijuana dispensaries places the city in a position of condoning a service for which there is complete conflict between federal and state law,” Fish wrote in a recent report to the city council, estimating that the revenue would only total about $242,000 per year.

Read the full report here

Fish also says that there is evidence that medical dispensaries discourage people to report crimes since operators don’t want police presence or negative publicity. And he cites many examples of how marijuana is connected to crime including home robberies where suspects know residents are growing marijuana, murders, traffic, noise complaints and money laundering.

“I believe an increase in violent crime associated with dispensaries is inevitable and local dispensaries only increase the changes marijuana will find its way into local schools and into the hands of our children.”

In addition, at least 16 service providers in the county deliver marijuana to patients’ homes, rendering a dispensary unnecessary, according to Fish.

But Peace in Medicine’s Jacob says that dispensaries reduce crime by selling marijuana in a controlled and highly regulated environment.

“All the people coming into our dispensary would otherwise be doing drug deals on the corner because they wouldn’t have anywhere to purchase it,” he said.

Currently, 141 California cities ban medical marijuana dispensaries and 41 allow it, according to Americans for Safe Access, an advocate for medical marijuana providers.

Tonight’s meeting starts at 7pm in council chambers.

LongTimeLocal December 20, 2011 at 10:36 PM
Oh, and GoOccupy, I don't believe that the people responsible for that unprovoked attack have been apprehended, let alone anything determined about whether they were drinking. I could say they were a pair of stoners with equal certainty so you appear to be in a bit of a haze. Probably a chronically achy little pinky only relieved with MM I should imagine...
LongTimeLocal December 20, 2011 at 10:44 PM
And, GoOccupy, take a look at a few facts. Yes, alcohol is a problem, but THC is way up there too. Hardly harmless, unless you choose to go with the belief based party line... http://drugabuse.gov/infofacts/driving.html
Go Occupy! December 21, 2011 at 01:34 AM
Long Time Local... it is a silly argument if you are trying to compare the horrible results of drinking alcohol and what harm it does on a daily basis to society, to medicinal use of marajuana. Any good that may have come from what you are saying is negated by your "stoner"comments. I can't remember the last time I saw a "stoner" stumbling about, but I do see drunks stumbling out of the many bars in Petaluma almost daily. Alcohol is such a problem that AA was formed to deal with all the victims. "Usual arguments" horsefeathers. And Mr Morrey, I spent 45 minutes with ebay Trust and Safety discussing you and Linda Rowen today. I also filed a second report at their urging. As you well know, violations compound on ebay and the first time you were kicked off, it was for 30 days, and then 7 days for your most recent "vacation" (you have even been kicked off of Patch under your "Eileen" user name). Anyway, when speaking to the rep, one of the things that was brought up is that you are now considered a repeat offender (esp with your multiple accounts in different countries that were opened when you were under suspension), and that your permanent suspension from ebay is on the table. Not just the discussion boards, but your ebay seller account. You are doing this to yourself, why can't you figure that out? Merry Christmas to you too!
Linda Rowan December 21, 2011 at 02:09 AM
Wait until the school's bus drivers and teachers get high...oh what fun lurks in the future.:(
Linda Rowan December 21, 2011 at 04:21 AM
MM is an herb and even the ingredients used for spirits are derived from plants. Tobacco is a plant yet the Nannys of Calif. are trying to ban cigarettes too? I only wish Marijuanna was legalized to help stop all the killings across our border states,the huge money the gangs get for selling it here,etc.But then we still have to deal with meth and all the other drugs too. Its a no win situation. I tried MM for my arthritis and it was a joke...did not help. But my late Mayor friend used it for his glaucoma and it helped dry his runny eyes,,,and he was in his 80's. I also know of patients who use MM to stimulate their appitite and curb nausea from chemo. So it does have its benefits. I like ciggies and dare anyone to tell me to NOT smoke.
Roy Bean December 21, 2011 at 05:18 AM
Marijuana and Mental Health A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. Some of these studies have shown age at first use to be an important risk factor, where early use is a marker of increased vulnerability to later problems. However, at this time, it is not clear whether marijuana use causes mental problems, exacerbates them, or reflects an attempt to self-medicate symptoms already in existence. Chronic marijuana use, especially in a very young person, may also be a marker of risk for mental illnesses - including addiction - stemming from genetic or environmental vulnerabilities, such as early exposure to stress or violence. Currently, the strongest evidence links marijuana use and schizophrenia and/or related disorders.4 High doses of marijuana can produce an acute psychotic reaction; in addition, use of the drug may trigger the onset or relapse of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals.
Roy Bean December 21, 2011 at 05:20 AM
Effects on the Heart Marijuana increases heart rate by 20-100 percent shortly after smoking; this effect can last up to 3 hours. In one study, it was estimated that marijuana users have a 4.8-fold increase in the risk of heart attack in the first hour after smoking the drug.5 This may be due to increased heart rate as well as the effects of marijuana on heart rhythms, causing palpitations and arrhythmias. This risk may be greater in aging populations or in those with cardiac vulnerabilities.
Go Occupy! December 21, 2011 at 05:22 AM
Dude, you got the Google on. Please cite sources when Googling, it's only fair to the person that penned the article.
Roy Bean December 21, 2011 at 05:26 AM
Effects on the Lungs Numerous studies have shown marijuana smoke to contain carcinogens and to be an irritant to the lungs. In fact, marijuana smoke contains 50-70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. Marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, which further increase the lungs' exposure to carcinogenic smoke. Marijuana smokers show dysregulated growth of epithelial cells in their lung tissue, which could lead to cancer;6 however, a recent case-controlled study found no positive associations between marijuana use and lung, upper respiratory, or upper digestive tract cancers.7 Thus, the link between marijuana smoking and these cancers remains unsubstantiated at this time. Nonetheless, marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, and a heightened risk of lung infections. A study of 450 individuals found that people who smoke marijuana frequently but do not smoke tobacco have more health problems and miss more days of work than nonsmokers.8 Many of the extra sick days among the marijuana smokers in the study were for respiratory illnesses.
Roy Bean December 21, 2011 at 05:27 AM
Effects on Daily Life Research clearly demonstrates that marijuana has the potential to cause problems in daily life or make a person's existing problems worse. In one study, heavy marijuana abusers reported that the drug impaired several important measures of life achievement, including physical and mental health, cognitive abilities, social life, and career status.9 Several studies associate workers' marijuana smoking with increased absences, tardiness, accidents, workers' compensation claims, and job turnover.
Go Occupy! December 21, 2011 at 05:30 AM
You aren't the real Mr Bean are you? Please, when you take another person's comments off of the internet, cite the source.
Go Occupy! December 21, 2011 at 05:32 AM
And how about doing a few comments on beer/spirits/wine and mental health?
LongTimeLocal December 21, 2011 at 05:41 AM
And why would you be staking out the bars? Yes, that's stupid behavior too, but nothing to do with MM being stupid stoner behavior also. So drunks somehow justify stoners, and being stoned is somehow better? Great line of rational argument for debate club...
Linda Rowan December 21, 2011 at 05:47 AM
"Paranoid behavior too"....spot on LTL...yes pot does cause all that Roy Bean posted and more. Yes my Mayor friend in his 80's used it but he was at the end of his life. It did help him as it does for the terminally ill. I tried it for pain but it clouded my thinking,everything was in slow motion and I did not like it and it certainly did not take away my pain. It did make me hungary...so if I was at the end stage of cancer or some other debilitating disease I would probably use it in a cookie. I have seen many a pot smoker in the years who exhibit a paranoid attitude and feel like everyone is against them and rant about things done to them even though its just in their heads. Sadly,opponets are going to get the stuff anyway. I would like to see it legalized like I posted earlier,to take a bite out of the drug smugglers under world. Like booze...the prohibition did not stop it and so it was again,legalized. Yes drunk drivers kill,and die from myriad diseases. I would be concerned if it was legalized though that it would be used by our bus drivers and any other job that required alertness. Its a double edge sword that won't go away and like booze,over eating,it all gets them in the end.
Linda Rowan December 21, 2011 at 05:49 AM
I meant proponents not opponents...sorry.
Goofpod December 21, 2011 at 08:59 AM
Don't smoke. It's moronic. Go to the library and look it up.
Linda Rowan December 21, 2011 at 09:17 AM
I smoke cigarettes...and I have my own health insurance so I am not on the County dole. I know of people who have never touched a cig and died at a very young age. My Dad is 85,smokes and is a strapping man...lifts weights and loves to fish. SO as long as I do it in my own home I could care less what others think. At least I am sober.
Go Occupy! December 21, 2011 at 02:31 PM
Don't drink. It's moronic. Go to the library and look it up. Don't abuse prescription meds. It's moronic. Go to the library and look it up. Don't let Rush Limbaugh buy more oxycontin. It's moronic. Go to the library and look it up. Don't smoke cigarettes. It's moronic and stunts your mental abilities. Go to the library and look it up.
Go Occupy! December 21, 2011 at 02:47 PM
Longtimeloco wrote: "And why would you be staking out the bars?" FYI, anyone in the city that passes through downtown Petaluma would be "staking out the bars" then. That you people promote alcohol use and condemn anything else just shows how naive you are. Well, the poll got it right, it is showing 40% yays and 13% nays.
Goofpod December 21, 2011 at 06:55 PM
Anybody over 30 who still smokes regularly despite the mountains of damning evidenct is either Helen Keller-ish, or just plain stupid. But, all addicts are in denial so it shouldn't come as a surprise. There is no justification for inhaling toxic fumes against your better judgement. Masochistic and, unfortunately, sadistic as well because everyone around you suffers your addiction.
Go Occupy! December 21, 2011 at 07:31 PM
Oh yeah, and chronic alcohol abusers are just such outstanding and jovial citizens. If someone wants to escape reality via a blunt or a bottle of gin, there is nothing a guy on a chatboard can do other than disagree. So, the money this would bring to the city is ranging between $250 and $500K. How many potholes would that fill? Wouldn't you like to drive around on smooth streets and tip your hat to all the medical pot "stoners" that provided funds to fill those potholes? Or would you go out of your way to drive around filled potholes that the "stoners" provided? I think the jury has voted on this one as the results to the poll testify.
LongTimeLocal December 21, 2011 at 08:24 PM
Keep on commenting GoOccupy. Every comment you make just makes the case clearer for anyone else reading them. Love your work - single handedly you've managed to do more for the case against than any amount of rational argument could hope to. The flimsiness of the delusional arguments you make are pretty obvious to all. Fine job, and I hope you continue to make sure there will never be a dispensary here.
LongTimeLocal December 21, 2011 at 08:33 PM
Please stay on task if you can GoOccupy. We're talking MM, and other bad things in the world don't justify another one. As to income, add in all the additional costs like policing, and you'll see it doesn't make economic sense either. As to the projections, they would require sales of around $10MM to even scratch the minimum you mention. Harborside in Oakland only does about $20MM, and they claim to have 95K 'patients' in a metro area 20 times the size. Ain't going to happen even if you take opinion out of it.
Go Occupy! December 21, 2011 at 08:45 PM
LongTimeLocal wrote: "Keep on commenting GoOccupy. Every comment you make just makes the case clearer for anyone else reading them. Love your work - single handedly you've managed to do more for the case against than any amount of rational argument could hope to. The flimsiness of the delusional arguments you make are pretty obvious to all. Fine job, and I hope you continue to make sure there will never be a dispensary here." Why can't you talk about a subject without constantly insulting everyone who is of a different opinion than you?
Patrick Baird December 24, 2011 at 03:24 AM
i assumed people were always stoned here as low as the speed limits are here! but as for long term use, you could say the same thing about all drugs. even "prescription" drugs. oxy, percocet, xanex, etc. as for the lazy stoners. odds are they were lazy in the first place, or had it in them sitting and waiting for the chance to come out. many people i know that do partake have steady and full time jobs and handle things outside of work. it didn't cause them to be lazy. the people who were already lazy it just made it easier. Because...it is relaxing. but you don't have to sit on your couch all day doing nothing to be relaxed.
Linda Rowan December 24, 2011 at 03:58 AM
I smoke either in my vehicle or in the comfort of my home. I do not smoke in the presence of non smokers. Call me a masochistic person but that is an anti smokers opinion.Getting off the MM subject a tad....booze clouds ones judgement and dare they drive and cause an accident. I may have a drink on a special occasion,but I do not condemn others who drink daily in moderation.Over eaters kill themselves with diabetes,heart disease,and myriad other sequelae.Still others partake in dangerous activities like riding a motor cycle,sky diving,moto cross,even snow skiing,again it is their choice. Back to MM. I voiced my concerns on the trafficing of cannabis across our borders and the death it leaves in its wake due to the drug lords. There will always be smokers,drinkers,and risk takers but that is a fact of life. There are always two sides to a coin. It is reaching a middle that most if not all can realize and accept.
LongTimeLocal December 24, 2011 at 11:23 PM
Looks like the council has spoken. Even DG is against it. The stoners seem to have lost another round.
Roy Bean December 25, 2011 at 12:21 AM
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Roy Bean December 25, 2011 at 12:24 AM
Your words are meaningless.
Roy Bean December 25, 2011 at 12:42 AM
Smoking marijuana is far more dangerous than smoking cigarettes, according to a group of scientists in New Zealand. The researchers found that smoking one joint is equivalent to 20 cigarettes in terms of lung cancer."Cannabis smokers end up with five times more carbon monoxide in their bloodstream (than tobacco smokers)," team leader Richard Beasley, at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, said in a news release.

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