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Petition filed to allow Palo Alto pot dispensaries

Original post made on Jun 22, 2011

A former adviser to late President Ronald Reagan has filed a notice with the City of Palo Alto to circulate a ballot-initiative petition for medical marijuana dispensaries.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 22, 2011, 3:20 PM

Comments (45)

Posted by H. Richards
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm

There is no such thing as the "Marijuana Policy Institute". Do you mean the Marijuana Policy Project?

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 22, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Although I believe there is a legitimate need, there are locations close enough that I would not support dispensaries in Palo Alto. Too many negatives cited when dispensaries crop up in communities.

Posted by tired of the BS
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 22, 2011 at 10:08 pm

The article says that medical marijuana dispensaries would limit sales to minor, but read the law, there is nothing in the law that has an age limit. A 14 year old could pay some quack to recommend her marijuana and it would be legal.

I have no problem with cancer/AIDS/MS etc... patients using marijuana for relief, but most of the people I have met with medical marijuana cards are young people with "Back pain" or "headaches" They make a joke of the idea of marijuana as medicine. Most people have smoked marijuana as some point in their life. I did a bit in college. I stopped because it made me fat and lazy. The people I know who kept smoking weed, didn't amount to much. Marijuana dispensaries are just legal drug dealing. Do we really need a generation of young people who have no ambition?

Posted by trudy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 23, 2011 at 6:40 am

Here's news, "tired," if someone has cancer, they don't want to be driving up to San Francisco, they're lucky if they can drive around town.

As to quacks, there are provisions in the law for that.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2011 at 7:58 am

If pot is that good a pain killer, then it should be made into a medication that is ingested. Anything that has to be burned and causes smoke which others have to deal with is not to be taken seriously.

I smell pot burning quite often and it is not pleasant. I don't care whether they need it for pain or not, it is anti social behavior. Real medications only affect the ones taking the medication, not everyone in the neighborhood.

Posted by OldSparky
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 23, 2011 at 8:53 am


Posted by 2cents
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2011 at 9:01 am

What I don't understand is why mj can't be made into a pill form to be ingested as are other controlled substances for medical purposes. All these dispensaries that are popping up are about legalizing the drug because it's easy to get a mj prescription for whatnot.

Strange that we are vilifying tobacco and extolling mj despite it's negative side-effects. MJ is very addictive and damaging not just to the lungs but also the mind. The comparison to alcohol doesn't hold up because most people get looped on mj unlike alcohol where you can have a drink or two.

If mj can be made into pill form and controlled like other addictive substances, than go ahead and do it. Otherwise, this is not good policy.

Posted by ninadora
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2011 at 9:07 am

where do i sign?

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2011 at 9:15 am

2 cents

Agree completely with you.

How can we as a society be putting down on smoking tobacco all the time with more and more restrictions and putting disgusting pictures on the packs as a health warning and then saying but mj is ok? What type of message does that send our youth?

Posted by tired of the BS
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 23, 2011 at 9:35 am


Have you read the law? I have, please show me where it has any provision to deal with doctors who prescribe marijuana to anyone who walks into their office? Have you ever looked at the back of SF weekly or any of the other free mags distributed around the area? These doctors take out full page ads with marijuana leaves advertising their services. They hand out their "recommendations" to anyone willing to pay their fee.

When we voted in favor of prop 215 (I did) most of us thought it was to help people who are truly sick, not to allow for retail marijuana sales to everyone.

Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2011 at 9:37 am

Cool - more white punks on dope! I agree with the posters who are advocating for a pharmacological approach to cannibis dispensing. Who are these medijuana activists trying to kid? The current dispensaries are just a convenient way for children and addicts to get their pot without having to deal with really shady characters.

Posted by sick of this issue!
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 23, 2011 at 10:19 am

Marijuana is neither addictive nor damaging to you brain - it is a total myth and it has been proven in studies otherwise. It is also SO much less bad for you than tobacco and alcohol. And there are plenty of people who smoke it who are highly functional members of society. It is amazing how ignorant people can be. But that also has nothing to do with whether there is a legitimate need for it as medicine, and whether it should be made readily available to people who are sick. Which it should.

Fun fact: No one has died from smoking marijuana. Ever. Do your research.

Look what your overprotective and uneducated anti-drug policies have done to Mexico.

Posted by @ 2 cents
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2011 at 10:34 am

The active ingredient of marijuana, THC, was made into drug form in the past, at least in experimental form several decades ago. Unfortunately, it has a delayed reaction compared with inhaled therapy. Because of the delayed reaction, pills are actually harder to titrate in dosage than inhaled therapy. Some patients (with AIDS or cancer) have difficulty swallowing, and therefore can tolerate inhaled therapy when they cannot tolerate pill therapy.

Sure, medical marijuana can be abused. But marijuana is so much more ripe for abuse when it is purchased illegally. And the primary reason marijuana is considered a gateway drug is because it is sold by drug dealers who also sell harder drugs, so there is an upsell opportunity for the drug dealers.

That's why marijuana should NOT be sold in liquor stores, unless it is legal to possess for anyone over 21. It should either be dispensed in pharmacies (for medicinal uses) or in separate marijuana-only dispensaries.

That being said, I'd have to look at the ordinance to decide whether to vote for it.

Posted by AJ
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2011 at 11:03 am

Big pharma would love to figure out how to make it in a lab so they make more billions off of us. There isn't a better medicine than marijuana for a night's sleep, for appetite, for serious diseases and even aches and pains ... either inhaled, ingested or used topically. And for those seriously ill, San Jose or San Francisco is to far to go.

Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2011 at 11:05 am

For 2 cents and others who promote pill popping, keep in mind that when mega-companies extract the active ingredient from natural sources to make them more potent (and profitable), they remove them from the other elements that provide balance.

It's why there are so many verbal footnotes in advertisements about all the side effects. Nature/God creates balance and herbs and other plant life provide that balance with a minimum of side effects.

"Just say no to drugs" should have been applied to pharmaceuticals where people give away their power to doctors and then get caught up in the endless prescriptions unaffectively attempting to regain balance where it has been lost.

Posted by Sally
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 23, 2011 at 11:05 am

Great!! We'll have increased sales tax revenues and we can avoid all those utility rate increases to supplement the declining sales tax revenues.

Posted by Millie
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 23, 2011 at 11:06 am

Where do we get to sign the petition?? Sounds good to me.

Posted by Hy Atymes
a resident of The Greenhouse
on Jun 23, 2011 at 11:13 am


Posted by BaaBaaRaa
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 23, 2011 at 11:57 am

My sister uses this for glaucoma, high blood pressure, aches and pains. It helps. She uses it like I would use a beer at the end of the day. She is now able to grow her own (because it is REALLY EXPENSIVE!!!). You are allowed 6 plants. However, she told me some fascinating stories about her whole experience with this... it is legalized where she lives in Northern California. First of all, she said you would not believe the diversity of folks who are in the shop (they only let you in one at a time)... little old ladies, upstanding citizens, moms looking to fill prescriptions for their minor kids!! (that was the most shocking to me... I can't remember why they had prescriptions). I say legalize it and show people there are not reasons to be afraid of it... Telling lies about it (like the movies shown when I was a kid in school 40 years ago) is NOT the way! I discovered that out immediately when I tried it in the 60s... and then figured everything else they told me was a pack of lies too. Just do it! Oh, the other thing she told me is I wouldn't believe the number of products they sell at the dispensaries... candy, baked goods, all flavors. Geeze, keep it out of the hands of the greedy pharmaceutical companies!

Posted by wassaw
a resident of Southgate
on Jun 23, 2011 at 4:31 pm

like laundry machines dont interfere with others??!! how inane! we have to breathe YOUR laundry odors all over the entire valley. we cant exercise or walk without breathing your poisons . smoking ''pot'' instead of constant clothes washing is better for EVERYONES health! we have to breathe ''tide'' ''wisk'' when we dont want to!!

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2011 at 4:41 pm

The War on Drugs has failed--time to legalize and tax for those over 21 years.

Smoking MJ like smoking tobacco causes cancer and heart disease.

Almost 500,000 premature and painful deaths each years in the US.

If people want to handicap themselves with MJ--fine--less competition for the rest of us.

But we need workplace/driving/flying monitoring.

Posted by sad
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 23, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I feel sad that americans have to resort to this to solve their budget problem.Now the mj equals beer to some diversified folks.

Posted by 2cents
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2011 at 7:06 pm

I don't get how MJ is a medicine since it can harm the lungs just like cigarettes. And how can a very ill person stand the MJ smoke but not be able to crush a pill and swallow it that way. Also, how can the THC strength be checked and standardized if people grow their own. But I guess this isn't really about MJ's medicinal qualities -- it's about legalizing it.

I don't buy that this drug is less harmful than alcohol. Sure alcohol can be abused and can be addictive, but I think MJ is much more harmful and people use it to get very high -- not just take a "toke" or two. It makes no sense to allow MJ smokers but restrict tobacco smokers.

Posted by Dennis
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 23, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Wow 2cents, you must be hanging out with some real stoners. Mary Jane is bad to smoke, but then if you're about to die, suffer malnutrition from chemo, that bad is not so bad. The two people I personally know who use medical Mary Jane, both ingest it orally in baked goods, or as a tea.

If we were sensible we would legalize it.

Posted by Jim
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 23, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Sales tax! Ya!

Posted by Gavin R. Putland
a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2011 at 8:07 pm

The reversal of the presumption of innocence in drug-possession cases is incompatible with the rule of law and is therefore unconstitutional in ALL jurisdictions. Furthermore, the ECONOMICS of the drug trade dictate that criminal sanctions are self-defeating unless concentrated on RETAIL SALES.

See "The universally unconstitutional war on drugs": Web Link .

Posted by Anna
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Any kind of smoking is bad for people, and second hand smoke shouldn't be allowed. The substance should be in pill form or whatever. Also, Palo Alto doesn't need the extra monitoring, police burden, and stoned teens, in these hard economic times with limited resources. There are marijuana places in nearby cities for those determined. I went through cancer (without needing dope), and I could drive most days, and I had lots of offers from friends for help. Palo Alto does not need to provide marijuana.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Once you are 21 you probably should be allowed to take any drug as long as you do not drive, work or endanger others.

There is a very serious risk of schizophrenia among teenagers who smoke MJ.

Health premiums should increase for those who smoke, take drugs, or have HIV/AIDS these are life style choices that have severe economic consequences for the rest of us

--make them them pay

Posted by pay
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 23, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Pay with fake money

Posted by 2cents
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2011 at 8:43 am

@Sharon your proposal "Health premiums should increase for those who smoke, take drugs, or have HIV/AIDS these are life style choices that have severe economic consequences for the rest of us" is even scarier than legalizing MJ. This would require lots of monitoring by our doctors/gate keepers who would have to check up on us with blood/urine tests. It could be expanded to obesity since that causes a lot of problems, Then our groceries could be monitored, and on and on. We may be going done this road anyway in order to curtail health costs, and it sounds bad to me.

I'd much rather we try to discourage drug use rather than submit to everybody gets monitored from cradle to grave all the time.

Legalizing MJ will encourage its use and I think we'll have more problems, not less. If it can be dispensed in pill form the way other controlled substances are, by medical professionals, that's fine.

Posted by Irma
a resident of Addison School
on Jun 24, 2011 at 9:01 am

You thing is going to be sell and cosume only by ill peole? Of course not. Dealers will in turn will sell it to your kids who attentd to Jordan, Terman or GUNN etc. ? They start with marijuana, then alchol since is going to be sell at same location , then what will be next?

Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2011 at 9:51 am

Medical Marijuana makes sense for adults who wish to use it. Inhaling, eating or sipping tea are the most effective methods to absorb it into your system quickly and avoids additives, high costs and misuse with concentrated doses.
Why not use the pharmacies as for all other behind the counter medicines? If pot is packaged properly they could handle it effectively and sick people wouldn't have to go to seedy outlets or liquor stores. I'm sure large corporations would love another product to sell if the price point is set right. And pharmacists are much more rigorous about who gets what than the front checkout registers at markets and drug stores who are selling alcohol to minors all the time, knowingly or unknowingly.

Posted by crazy horse
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 24, 2011 at 10:17 am

A very smart fellow with a very good idea.

Posted by Good For Them
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I can't wait to sign this petition. The war on drugs has been an expensive failed mess that has created unnecessary crime and violence throughout the world.

Do you really want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to jail every pot smoker? Would you rather spend money on schools or prisons??

Sharon's moralizing is ridiculous and disgusting. Who appointed you moral guardian?

Are you going to send out nannies to bust every bar in town, every ice cream place, every pizza place, every candy store.....????? Are you going to comb through everyone's credit card bills looking for people frequenting those horribly corrupt establishment so you can raise their insurance rates? Are you going to appoint grocers as your moral police looking for people buying things that offend YOU??

Pot smokers don't commit violent crimes, kill people like drunk drivers do and break the hearts of friends and family like people with long-term drinking problems.

Legalize it, tax it and create jobs!

Peace and love, bay-bee.

Posted by Truths Onmyside
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2011 at 2:53 pm

The ignorance about costs, reselling, and dispensaries in general is astounding. Real ooga booga stuff based on assumed and irrational fear rather than facts. Well, First off we have documented statements from Los Angeles, SJ and SF police chiefs stating no increase in crime has been tied to dispensaries..and its been over 10 years now. This is a verifiable fact of you want to go look it up. Next we have resales> It doesn't happen. The cost is too high to make it worth while to street dealers who can get it cheaper in bulk on the black market.
Smoking is not good for your lungs, true, but you can also eat cannabis as many many do instead of smoking, or you can use a vaporizer, eliminating the smoke. Lastly, I've not known a single dispensary to ever allow anyone under 18 to be allowed to purchase, in fact I can recall ever seeing anyone under 18 allowed in. A city reg would ensure this if people are

Posted by Yep
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 24, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Why any kid would go to the trouble of 1) trying to get a doctor to give him a referral and 2) trying to find ANY dispensary that would let a minor in, is beyond me.
No, kids have it much easier than that. They simply go to school and ask for it from one of the few kids that sell it or know someone who sells it. This has been the way its been for about 40 or 50 years now for those not yet aware.
Its harder for kids to get alcohol though...because the end of prohibition ended the black market for alcohol. Regulated availability killed the booze black market for the most part, except maybe in the rural south where its more culturally ingrained.

Regulated availability would likely do the same and would likely make an impact on how easy kids can currently get pot.
They'll still get it, no doubt there, but it'll be like booze...much harder to get, but if they do get it, at least its less dangerous for them than booze.

Posted by Sally
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 24, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Check out some of the ads for legalization from big city mayors and cops. The drug war's been lost and resources are better spent elsewhere. They know grass smokers are peaceful; let them concentrate on dangerous criminals.

The taxes collected in San Jose saved 3 branch libraries and 18 police positions.

Yep is right that marijuana is much safer than alcohol. I just went through a 2-year horror story with a friend whose drinking caught up to her and killed her. Not much fun for her family and friends.

You want to look at ridiculous "health" costs? Try alcoholics. Each stay in rehab costs $30K for each 28-day stay times the number of stays. How do I know? The friend called me from the airport giggling about having a $30K glass of wine -- the cost of her 28-day-stay in rehab.

She was un rehab at least 6 times, 6 stays in rehab ($180K) 2 totalled cars (fortunately no one else was hurt). 7 visits to the emergency ward for falling down and requiring stitches ($70K??) 2 separate month-long stays in the hospital. ($100k)? 6 months in assisted living before she died, another $100K?

That's more than $400,000, all payable under her insurance plan.

If she'd been smoking grass, maybe she'd still be alive. That would be a priceless gift!

So, Sharon, save me preaching. We all have mothers and don't need your preaching or your economics.

Just tell me where to vote yet on the petition!

Posted by member
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 25, 2011 at 12:42 am

Hurray, every dispensary that opens is another blow to the failed drug war! I wrote a book to help people get in the dispensary business, check it out:

Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2011 at 2:50 am

> The people I know who kept smoking weed, didn't amount to much.

Like Carl Sagan? Most people who partake in pot do not broadcast it.

It's time to stand down this militaristic society based on abuse, fear, and corruption. It's not like we are doing anything but creating dynasties of crime and violence by making this stuff illegal.

We count all these costs in our low depressed GDP number ... and it is good for nothing. There is not much going on in the US anymore than is productive.

We should at least try it because what we have been doing for so long is not working.

Posted by skoog
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 25, 2011 at 9:58 am

The article fails to mention that Proposition 19 was voted down in the last election. The PA Weekly was a "Yes" on that proposition.
The PA editorial staff - or former staff may have some skin in the game on that topic. There is no liquor store in PA that is not near a residential area. The SF Chronicle reports regularly on the failure to monitor and control gang related activity in respect to the sale of marijuana and other controlled substances. It is an introduction in to a small city that's major focus is on keeping our childtren safe, as well as the adult population. This city does not have the resources to properly manage the situation - it is not the business of Palo Alto to take on state issues which require resources above and beyond what is availabe at the city level. While the good intentions noted have a valid theoretical vaidity they do not play out in the real world. The people that have skin in the game are not Stanford fellows and play by a different set of rules - or no rules.

Posted by Gnar
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 25, 2011 at 11:12 pm

"Anything that has to be burned and causes smoke which others have to deal with is not to be taken seriously. I smell pot burning quite often and it is not pleasant. I don't care whether they need it for pain or not, it is anti social behavior. Real medications only affect the ones taking the medication, not everyone in the neighborhood."

Actually, most people find the smell to be quite pleasant. Not only is it not anti-social behavior (unless you believe decades of baseless and unresearched propaganda and), but smoking cannabis can be quite a social activity.

Further, someone else's cannabis smoke is not going to affect everyone in the neighborhood. That's ludicrous. In fact, in order for it to affect anyone else, they'd have to be sitting in a small and enclosed space with the smoker.

They do have synthetic THC in pill form: Marinol. They also have Vicodin and Valium and Percoset, etc. But some people just don't feel like putting synthetic chemicals in their bodies.

In my mind the real issue is not whether people make up dubious reasons to get a doctor's recommendation. The real issue is that cannabis should never have been made illegal in the first place. It's massively safer than either alcohol or tobacco, and that is a fact. Why do we continue to persecute and stigmatize cannabis users?

Illegal does not equal immoral. And really, if it means temporarily alleviating someone else's chronic suffering, I think you could probably suck it up and deal with the occasional smell of cannabis smoke in your neighborhood.

Posted by Sally
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 27, 2011 at 10:47 am

I hope the person who said anything that causes smoke is bad doesn't go camping.

We need the tax revenues and deficit reduction coming from legalization.

Posted by Mary Jane Weed
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 28, 2011 at 5:04 pm

There is plenty of marijuana use in Palo Alto right now, so we might as well benefit from it.

If the city is going to allow drug dealing in Palo Alto (and it *is* drug dealing), then it should be restricted to marijuana grown within the city limits. Buy local. That way the money would stay in Palo Alto rather than going to Humboldt County or the Mexican cartels. With permit fees from the growers, license fees and sales tax revenues from the dealers maybe Palo Alto could afford to fix the sidewalks.

We don't want to lose our oh-so-perfect progressive credentials by opposing marijuana use, do we? That would be half-baked.

Posted by Alice
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Did anyone have a door-to-door solicitor asking you to sign this marijuana petition or maybe sitting outside your local Safeway? I felt that the man who knocked on my door was misrepresenting his cause. He stated that he was 'neutral' on the matter and that I needed to sign the petition in order to vote. He urged that even if I was against the initiative, that I should sign the petition. And if I did not sign the petition, then people who were in favor of the initiative would have more signatures and the initiative would pass. He was not upfront in stating that signing the petition would help put the initiative on the ballot in the first place. I eventually sensed what he was saying was rather fishy. However, I am sure that many people who signed the petition do not want the initiative to go to ballot and do not realize that they were actually helping the initiative. I think some people working for this initiative are using fraudulent methods of misrepresentation. If enough people come forward and state that that they were tricked into signing something that was misrepresented to them, the entire petition should be considered invalid.

Posted by Benjamin Horbowy
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 12, 2011 at 1:21 am

I moved from the keys Florida a week ago to California in search of a healthier alternative of the post veterian template of narcotics salad. I much prefer the natural remedy of nonintrusive medication. Another reason I moved to California is that Florida as economy is far in the dumps, the governmenrt is snatching every chance they get to include someone into the legal rachet. I am glad I have the opportunity volleyer my training in community organization to help the city of Palo Alto raise raise support. I am thankful to have an opportunity to do my duty. God bless America! If only Florida had the same opportunity to offer a way to raise tax revenue happily by citizens and help create jobs. Be the time the issue will be on ballet, my schooling in co-operative management, I maybe eligible to work for the company I helped campaign for. Please follow me on twitter for #Shoutout support during the campaign # #vivaFrido

@BenjaminHorbowy #in

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