Walnut Creek puts moratorium on pot clubs

August 18, 2009 1:02:30 PM PDT
The Walnut Creek city council has passed a 45 day moratorium on the opening of medicinal marijuana dispensaries. It follows a recent request to open the city's first dispensary.

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In fairly conservative Walnut Creek, you would expect a pot dispensing operation to be met with skepticism from city council members. You might not expect a vote in favor of allowing the operation to exist, especially considering its zoning and permit irregularities. But then you hear the story of Councilman Bob Simmons, who told the story of his son, a cancer survivor.

"But I will represent that there is nothing a parent wouldn't do, even going to the parking lots of Target to find marijuana if that is what your child needed. I think it is inexcusable to say to people I'm sorry, even though this is a legal use in the state of California, you are going to have to go into Oakland, you are going to have to go into San Francisco," said Simmons.

The mayor of Walnut Creek said his job is not to decide the legality of marijuana, but just to decide what is best for Walnut Creek.

"I want to make sure that we are treating this as we would any other business in Walnut Creek. And if it is an appropriate business to have in our city, where should it be located," said Walnut Creek mayor Gary Skrel.

Supporters of the medical marijuana dispensary say time is on their side; they point to Proposition 215 which voters approved, legalizing medical marijuana. They say it is just a matter of time until Walnut Creek changes the way it voted on that issue.

"Over 60 percent of county residents passed Proposition 215 in 1996 and I'm sure if you were to take polls today, they were would substantially bigger figures for proponents of Prop 215 and safe access to medical cannabis," said Complimentary Alternative Medicine's Brian Hyman.

The moratorium will be reviewed again on September 15th.

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