Californian Cities Concerned About Marijuana Shops

As more shops open in California to dispense medical marijuana, local officials are concerned that the stores could attract crime and blight.  While state law allows for the dispensing of medical marijuana to certain patients, it fails to provide clear guidelines on how local officials should regulate distribution. Marijuana shops have opened in Colfax, Roseville, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, and Auburn, among other communities.

The Rocklin City Council recently voted to prohibit a medical-marijuana dispensary in the area, an action that medical marijuana experts said is unprecedented in California. City-council members voted for the 45-day emergency ban after Roseville Police Chief Mark Siemens told officials that the stores caused problems in his city. Since the medical marijuana shops have opened in Roseville, Siemens said, street dealers have begun loitering outside, thieves attack patients leaving the store, and illegal sales or marijuana occurs nearby.

But medical-marijuana supporters said the Rocklin council’s decision was based on incomplete information. They said shop operators are committed to ensuring that patients are safe. The advocates cited the Colfax store as an example, saying it follows strict admission procedures and has cameras and a security guard monitoring the store and parking lot.

“There have been no problems, no reports of crime,” said Placer County Undersheriff Steve D’Arcy of the Colfax store. “It’s been very quiet.”Even Roseville Police Capt. Dave Braafladt acknowledged that while the store has resulted in some calls, there was “nothing of major significance.”But many city officials are uncomfortable with medical-marijuana stores in their community, especially with the conflict between state and federal law. Under federal law, marijuana is illegal, even for medical purposes.


Source: Sacramento Bee reported July 5. 2004


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