|Responses to "Ganga Surrealty"
July 26, 2010
Following are all the responses, both pro and con, that I have received to date on my E-FORUM “Ganja Surreality” and others. Note that the first four represent the developing in-fighting among competing dispensaries as they posture for their share of the spoils. In the old days, these drug dealers would have just killed each other, but in the new world of respectability, they are just ratting each other out.
I encourage you to visit with the dispensary operators but please keep in mind that "Green Remedy" opened in February 2010 (after the Dec 15th, 2009 Moratorium), did construction on the property w/out permits (literally in the middle of the night) and they continuously fail to meet retail business requirements by not collecting sales tax, they do not pay the Board of Equalization, or any other tax, they have allowed patients to come into their shop when their recommendations have expired and we have refused them entry.
They opened next door to the GDP Collective at 2924 Hilltop Mall Rd. Literally 59 feet away.
I represent the GDP Collective and we have been in Richmond since 2005. We have lead the "fight" on trying to get the city to adopt an ordinance for Medical Marijuana and welcome any ordinance as long as all club(s) must obey State laws, and local laws set forth.
We are a Not-for-Profit Corporation and collect and pay all taxes and all these records are available for your viewing tomorrow as well as any time. I welcome you to come and tour my facility at any time!
I welcome any questions on the Corporation set-up to how we test our product and send it out for diagnosis.
There are several clubs that do not even have operational standards and patient code of conducts set in place until the last email came forth! They are scrambling to adopt anything to be able to stay open but want to fight for on site consumption. GDP absolutely does not condone nor wants on-site consumption for many reasons including the health risk to the general public once that patient get into his/her car!
In closing I want to offer my support (GDP) to be able to help implement and answer any questions you all may have on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries. We would very much like to be apart of this process.
I am a consultant representing GreenLeaf Natural Wellness Center.
In light of your recent council meeting to welcome medicinal centers in Richmond, I would like to introduce a more upscale approach to the traditional "pot club" that I feel would elevate the city's image and method of operations when it comes to implementing these type of collectives.
GreenLeaf is not similar in principle or structure to these types of existing collectives that we feel are not always operated in the best interest of the city or really focusing on the patient's overall health needs. GreenLeaf is designed to provide an upscale holistic alternative for clients in a safe, clean and secure setting-- a place that you could take a mother or grandmother to for pain management if they had cancer--a place that offers yoga, group therapy, nutritional information and more.
To get a better sense of GreenLeaf's owners, their background, vision and initiatives, I have attached a proposal depicting our goals and services that we feel would provide the City of Richmond with a respectable business model that they can be proud to have as a beneficial and revenue generating business in their city.
As you can see, the principals of GreenLeaf come from a well-rounded and esteemed background and are committed to providing safe and quality alternatives to some of the harsher treatments for people in pain that exist in modern medicine.
In the past we have met with Councilmember Ritterman and Rafael Madrigal, and would welcome a meeting with additional members of the city council, and city staff and commissions.
We welcome addressing any thoughts or concerns that you might have, as well as the best way to determine next steps for us and others in the approval process with the city.
Please contact me and we can schedule a time.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
After very helpful conversations with Councilmember Jim Rogers, we have come to understand the need to have greater collaboration and communication with you and your department, especially around issues of enforcement and oversight of the Richmond dispensaries. We recognize that for the dispensaries to successfully operate in Richmond, our collaboration with you and your department must be extensive. To date, the Richmond dispensaries, while working hard to meet state law, and to comply with local requirements, have not benefitted sufficiently, as a group, from the type of dialogue with you that would enable us to fully understand the issues recently raised in an email written by you about the impacts that dispensaries were having, or could potentially have, on the surrounding communities. As we read through the email, and had conversations with council members, we have come to understand that these concerns must be addressed by us.
We respectfully invite you to meet with us tomorrow (Monday) afternoon at a time that is convenient for you. We will coordinate attendance with the other dispensary operators, and we offer our facility at Green Remedy Collective as a meeting place. If this location is inconvenient for you, we are happy to attend a meeting at a location more convenient to you. We hope you are able to fit this meeting into your busy schedule as we believe that the opportunity for reaching greater understanding of your department’s necessary role in oversight of the dispensaries will be significantly enhanced if we can meet with you directly, as a group, and fully understand the perspective of your department.
Tuesday evening the Richmond City Council is going to have a second reading to legalize selling Marijuana in our city against Federal law and before the public votes in November to legalize the selling in the State of California. Even though the current President Obama has said unless there are other laws broken the Federal Government will not go after Medical Marijuana sales for the next 4 to 8 years. Income from illegal sales including tax dollars may be confiscated by the Federal Governmentment.
If Senator Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, or Rep George Miller want to push the Federal Government to legalize Medical Marijuana, then the State, County and Cities can follow the law and collect taxes on LEGAL MEDICAL MARIJUANA. Until then what about aiding and abetting criminals? There has been very little discussion between our City Council and the general public. There seems to be a push to get this through before the dispenseries open up some where else and the City Council might miss out on a new source of GREEN REVENUE. Below is Councilmember Tom Butts e-mail on the issue.
Thank you for the information you sent in your email and good luck with getting the ordinance modified.
Honorable Council Mermbers
I have to object to this email of Tom Butt's, because of witnessing first-hand the benefits of being able to provide medical marijuana to my partner who was dying of cancer some years
You're all smart people and there's tons of more pertinent & current information on the subject of medical marijuana available than the aged propaganda Tom Butt forwarded to his -Forum world.
Much has been learned on the subject since 1974, 75, 84 and even the 90's... All council members need to look at the current facts in order to make a fair & learned judgement on this issue.
It is not a one sided issue, i.e., someone opening a business across the street from your's that you don't approve of...
This is a quality of life issue for many residents from Richmond and beyond.
Let's not forget known facts about Pot vs. Alcohol use that I've bolded in the 2009 article shown below from the Huffington Post that happens to have been written by a former Police Chief....
Huffington Post article posted April 20, 2009
420: Thoughts on Pot vs. Alcohol from a Former Police Chief
As 5:00 p.m. rolls around my interior clock starts chiming. I'll have an ice-cold, bone-dry martini, thank you. Jalapeno olives and a twist. If the occasion calls for it (temperatures in the twenties, a hot political debate on the tube) I may substitute two fingers of Kentucky sour mash. Four-twenty? Doesn't resonate. But with April 20 approaching and Waldos of the world gearing up to celebrate their favorite day of the year, it's not a bad time to consider, yet again, the pluses and minuses of alcohol vs. cannabis.
First, a disclaimer: I am a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, but I don't officially represent the organization in this forum. That said, I can't very well check my affiliation, or beliefs, at the keyboard when I sit down to blog for HuffPost. We at LEAP are current and former cops and other criminal justice practitioners who have witnessed firsthand the futility and manifold injustices of the drug war. Our professional experiences have led us to conclude that the more dangerous an illicit substance--from crack to krank--the greater the justification for its legalization, regulation, and control. It is the prohibition of drugs that leads inexorably to high rates of death, disease, crime, and addiction.
Alcohol-related traffic accidents claim approximately 14,000 lives each year, down significantly from 20 or 30 years ago (attributed to improved education and enforcement). Figures for THC-related traffic fatalities are elusive, especially since alcohol is almost always present in the blood as well, and since the numbers of "marijuana-only" traffic fatalities are so small. But evidence from studies, including laboratory simulations, feeds the stereotype that those under the influence of canniboids tend to (1) be more aware of their impaired psychomotor skills, and (2) drive well below the speed limit. Those under the influence of alcohol are much more likely to be clueless or defiant about their condition, and to speed up and drive recklessly.
Hundreds of alcohol overdose deaths occur annually. There has never been a single recorded marijuana OD fatality.
According to the American Public Health Association, excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of death in this country. APHA pegs the negative economic impact of extreme drinking at $150 billion a year.
Alcohol contributes to acts of violence; marijuana reduces aggression. In approximately three million cases of reported violent crimes last year, the offender had been drinking. This is particularly true in cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, and date rape. Marijuana use, in and of itself, is absent from both crime reports and the scientific literature. There is simply no link to be made.
Over the past four years I've asked police officers throughout the U.S. (and in Canada) two questions. When's the last time you had to fight someone under the influence of marijuana? (I'm talking marijuana only, not pot plus a six-pack or a fifth of tequila.) My colleagues pause, they reflect. Their eyes widen as they realize that in their five or fifteen or thirty years on the job they have never had to fight a marijuana user. I then ask: When's the last time you had to fight a drunk? They look at their watches.
All of which begs the question. If one of these two drugs is implicated in dire health effects, high mortality rates, and physical violence--and the other is not--what are we to make of our nation's marijuana laws? Or alcohol laws, for that matter.
Anybody out there want to launch a campaign for the re-prohibition of alcohol? Didn't think so. The answer, of course, is responsible drinking. Marijuana smokers, for their part, have already shown (apart from that little matter known as the law) greater responsibility in their choice of drugs than those of us who choose alcohol.
A very good and welcome summary of this issue. I also appreciate reading the Chief's comments. Thanks for sending.
"there is evidence that 98% of marijuana users are not suffering from maladies for which marijuana is the best treatment."
I appreciate your points but you lose me when you start arguing about how smoking marijuana is bad for you.
Fascinating to observe your mental processes here, on an issue I've been working with since 1958. A little background, so you can likewise observe my own thought processes on governance, crime, and the art of scientific rhetoric. I went to high school in Key West, even then a rather freewheeling Navy town. Drugs were freely available, as was liquor, especially during Prohibition (an event best kept firmly at the front of consciousness while arguing these concepts). Prohibition dealt a blow to that small island city's governance from which I don't think it ever recovered. Prohibition is not control or regulation.
In 1961 I came to the Bay Area on a motorcycle, another supposedly dangerous and evil behavior. I've ridden steadily since then, even now, at 70, I have a freeway legal scooter. I've had zero accidents. But then, I ride like I take drugs, very very carefully. I skittered alongside the whole Beat and Hippie scene, close enough to do sound at the Fillmore, and read Poetry at the Fox and Hound in North Beach. I've observed drug taking up close for a long time, without particularly using any ones except the occasional toke, and a couple of clinically acceptable uses of LSD, following the "set and setting" recommendations of the best sources at Stanford I could access. I know about the bad effects of crack compared to cocaine, and the differences in behavior that spring from drugs and its interactions with personality and situation. I've discussed the alcohol regulation in Sweden (don't drive drunk!) at dinner parties at the upper diplomatic levels, and wandered Amsterdam.
I observe the incredible violence caused by harsh drug prohibition in the United States. It seems obvious it's driven by greed for money, just like Chevron's mistakes are so driven, and BP's culture of carelessness. I contrast the trivial social (non-individual) alcohol problems (compared with personal mistakes in usage) and so we get to the difference in wisdom and understanding between Chief Magnuson's letter, and your, I must say, rather clunky and transparent lazy moralizing attempts to make a scientific argument, as you skip wildly between levels of individual choice, old and new research, and types of ingestion.
My main bottom line comment is that you are a hell of a lot better at talking about architecture than you are at thinking about governmental control of personal life choices, and the bitter necessity of allowing people to make their own mistakes. I guess the simplest way to say this is that you're moralizing instead of analyzing, and thus generating the weakest of rationalized nanny-state excuses for your original gut impulses. I'd advise you to talk with some of your more rational pot users, medical and recreational, especially the older ones, since they've had a lot more experience with thinking about how to deal with the fun aspects of life than you have. I hope.
We need regulation. We need decriminalization of possession and use, and accurate court enforcement of violations of the public safety and health.
What we don't need is a return to Harry J. Anslinger and his screaming craziness and religious fervor. We need depoliticization. This issue is too important, especially to people who medicate with cannabis, to be used to garner votes, even if being "against drugs" is a sure winner.
You are invited to our house, if you'd like, perhaps with the Chief, to talk about governance, the Founders' concept of personal liberty, and the difficult choices in real time and real life that people in governance must make. You need to realize, perhaps, that you can't talk about things like this in public confrontational soundbites, such as our rather crippled city governments feel the need to impose on the citizens when they speak up.
For that reason, I'd like you to publish this response to the same list you sent the original letter out to. Fair is fair.
For the record, I haven't smoked marijuana since the 70's, but the idea that the world will end if it is legalized is just incorrect. I do agree that it should not be sold in a residential area, or near schools, or parks. As for the carcinogenic hydrocarbons, we live in Richmond, right next to Chevron, General Chemical, etc., talk about our breathing in toxins!
What is your position? What do you need to feel that you have received sufficient education? I support the marijuana dispensaries but also support strong enforcement. You might find interesting the relationship between alcohol and violence and crime as well.
You are right on. The response I got from Ritterman is ridiculous, and so far removed from reality for anyone in the medical profession one would have to believe he is either incompetent or has been bought.
Your suggestion to get input from experts before making such a serioius decision is, in my opinion, a good way to go. I am going to answer Ritterman and include quotes and sources from the best in the U.S. I suspect he is a member of NORML, and/or a recipient of financial backing by the Drug Policy Alliance.
You obviously have done a lot of research. If you haven't found it already, www.casacolumbia.org is a great source of information. They are probably the best research firm in the U.S. One relevant paper listed under publications is Non-Medical Marijuana which has a lot of information on marijuana addiction. (Pages 11 - 22).
In the discussion of where collectives should be located in the City, Ritterman suggested industrial areas. Lopez, who is the only one on the Council who is an authority on zoning, asked whether C2 and C3 zones would be included and was shouted down by Ritterman who said both--at least that was what was perceived above his shouting. Zone C2, as I understand it, is an industrial zone that abuts residential areas. We were told that collectives have up to 6-8k members which suggests parking might well pose a problem in C2 zones, not to mention the number of cognitively impaired folk walking residential streets heading for their collectives. The West County Times, 22 July 2010, p. 2 & 4, inform us that collectives will be located only 500 feet from schools (other than high schools) and day care centers. Will residential areas tolerate this?
The unlimited number of cannabis collectives/outlets proposed for Richmond is not comparable to other nearby cities. Berkeley (pop. 101,555) 3 collectives; Oakland (pop. 397,067) 4 collectives; San Jose (pop. 929,936) 10 outlets. Neither El Cerrito nor Pittsburg will allow cannabis collectives. The City of Pride and Purpose now has another behavior to brag about along with gangs, guns, murder, crime--Cannabis Capital of the East Bay.
We are told by the West County Times, 21 July 2010, p. AA00, that home grown cannabis is sold for $3500-$3800 per pound in Oakland. And that $28 million of cannabis was sold at dispensaries last year. Oakland is considering a $211k regulatory fee to be charged to cannabis growers in its jurisdiction. It is not surprising given the very large sums of money involved in cannabis sales that we find Butt placing items L-2 and L-4 on the Council's agenda for the 27 July 2010 meeting. Butt wants to make a Buck for the City.
Needless to say at this point, I am amazed at the very poor judgment shown by the City Council on this issue. Have we not enough problems without adding to them encouraging drug use and abuse?
There is no right to open, only a right to apply.
The Council after hearing concerns like yours, will make the final choice.
The City Manager has been given the authority to require whatever level of police protection, safety requirements, etc, he feels is appropriate.
I believe that as a startiong point that should be one officer to patrol the dispensary and surrounding neighborhood each hour the dispenbsary is open.
As the dispensaries prove they can take care of business, that level of patrol could be reduced.
By permitting legal ones, we will reduc ethe marke tof rthe illegal ones which are currently creating problems, according to our Police Chief.
If it turns out that in spiute of our best efforts neighborhoods are being trashed, then I will vote to repeal the authorization to operate.
Please note it is a conditional use permit, revocable by the Council at any time.
Councilmember Jim Rogers
I know that we both feel passionately about the medical marijuana issue and its rightful place in our city. I'm sorry that we see the issue so differently.
I suspect that we will have another lively debate on the issue during the second reading of the ordinance.
I'd like to ask you to refrain from characterizing the collectives as greedy unscrupulous carpet baggers. I believe that kind of characterization is inaccurrate and poisons the debate. In my experience, for example, John Clay is an honorable man with scruples who is not involved out of greed. I believe that he worked in Richmond helping patients with autism.
In any case, I am asking that you refrain from using the greedy unscrupulous carpetbagger characterization, which will only inflame pre-existing prejudices without helping advance anyone's understanding of what is certainly a complex issue for any city to address.
The Police Chief has his hands tied and is not allowed to enforce any laws in the City of Richmond. Thanks for your efforts last night. However, it was too little, far too late. As I recall, you made light of the dispensary in the Point a while back. Something to do with marijuana and the outdoor market. When I further learned that some the Point's more esteemed residents are "patients" seeking "medicine" from our "local collective health providers", I figured no sense in complaining. We own a lovely home in the Point. After my husbands repeated illnesses, we decided to live closer to our children. While buyers admire our home, they don't want to live in Richmond. Crime, gambling, violence, poverty and now marijuana dispensaries! What a load of BS and pandering was on the agenda last night!!!