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Legal questions muddle Palo Alto's pot debate

Original post made on Sep 7, 2012

With California's marijuana laws still immersed in a legal cloud, a group of Palo Alto's elected officials is urging voters to strike down in November a citizen initiative that would allow up to three pot dispensaries to set up shop in the city.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 7, 2012, 8:19 AM

Comments (28)

Posted by Marilyn
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 7, 2012 at 10:13 am

Everyone knows that "medical" marijuana dispensaries quickly become co-opted by recreational marijuana users armed with medical prescriptions written by quacks. That's where the money is, which is all the promoters of these schemes care about.

Flying marijuana dispensaries under the "medical" flag is bogus in the extreme.

Palo Alto voters should vote a resounding NO on this ill-conceived proposition to send these guys packing once and for all.

Posted by Vote NO on Measure C.
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 7, 2012 at 10:56 am

The FEDERAL government should get off their ineffective rear ends and make marijuana a prescription drug and control it as they do other medications for legitimate medical use. This would also serve to protect cancer patients who could be harmed by the effects of illegitimate drugs that are sometimes laced with pesticides and other chemicals.

Good grief! I wish Washington would do someting useful.

I oppose these dispensaries. They are not well-enough controlled to protect vulnerable patients. We have a system for dispensing screened, safe medication to sick people through pharmacies. These marijuana dispensaries are unnecessary and this is really sloppy and irresponsible legislation. Oppose Measure C. Advocate for controlled distribution through the same system we use for other medications.

Posted by Logic
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 7, 2012 at 11:06 am

Lets be the first city to start prohibition over again! Down with alcohol! Down with tobacco! Let us stay in our prehistoric brain washed mindset and not move forward! Where is the ballot for this movement?! This is Amurica, let us continue to tell people how to live their lives and what to consume! (Alcohol and tobacco kill thousands of people every year and have ZERO proven medical benefits. While Marijuana is not addictive and has never killed anyone and has scientifically proven medical benefits. AND, if legalized, would be a HUGE financial income for the state of CA and any other state that would adopt it. Lets go people. 1950 called, it wants your feeble minds back.)

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

I think you make some excellent points Vote No. I agree with you. Please tell us how you are advocating so we can join you. What is the name of your group and can I participate?

Posted by Bane, conquerer of worlds
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 7, 2012 at 11:25 am

Marijuana is POISON. Drug dealers grow marijuana because it makes them money, not because it has any health benefit. BAN MARIJUANA NOW! Marijuana can cause depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and these are exactly WHAT WE WANT TO KEEP OUT OF OUR CHILDIRENS HANDS!

Posted by Judy
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 7, 2012 at 11:41 am

Marilyn and others stated the case for voting "no"on Measure C perfectly. To add one more compelling reason: the ease of buying marijuana from these bogus dispensaries have created a flourishing business of 18 year olds buying and selling marijuana to younger HS students. Questions of addiction aside, frequent use of marijuana is not something to encourage in our (or indeed any) community.

Posted by Who is for & who is against
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2012 at 11:46 am

Looks like the city's big money interests are leading the opposition to this initiative:
Vice Mayor Greg Scharff, Councilman Larry Klein, Melissa Baten Caswell. Lanie Wheeler, Gary Fazzino, Liz Kniss.
Can anyone explain why? Is it bad for real estate interests and developers?

Posted by Lightfoot
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 7, 2012 at 11:48 am

I agree with 100% with Bane.
Except that every time the words marijuana or drug were used, I substituted the word "Liquor"

Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I saw how marijuana petition gathers operated. They stalked out the patio of Starbucks at Midtown, grocery stores, and outside other student hangouts... and students seemed thrilled to sign their first petition - really patriotic. I heard the 'pitch'. The petitioners also worked other places where the high school seniors hung out and also Stanford students if they lived in Palo Alto. The paid workers went door-to-door. Downtown Palo Alto was 'ripe' on weekend nights. These petitioners were evidently getting paid per signature or for whatever amount of signatures they reaped.

Posted by Logic
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm

So everyone here is for the ban of Alcohol and tobacco in Palo Alto? Because that stuff is turrible for our communities and children.

Kate- "These petitioners were evidently getting paid per signature or for whatever amount of signatures they reaped." links or its not true.

Lightfoot +1

Bane- you are a professional observer. "Alcohol/tobacco is POISON. Drug(convenience stores)dealers grow(sell) Alcohol/tobacco because it makes them money, not because it has any health benefit. BAN Alcohol/tobacco NOW! Alcohol/tobacco can cause depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and these are exactly WHAT WE WANT TO KEEP OUT OF OUR CHILDIRENS HANDS!"

My point is this >>> We can't say that 2/3 is ok. It's either let us have all three or none. Simple.

Posted by Lightfoot
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm

That's the way petition gatherers work. Nothing 'evil' or 'unusual' happening here. Putting words in quotes for emphasis is... umm, well..'unnecessary'
They always get paid for the number of signatures they get.

I doubt that Measure C will pass. But pot should be legalized- whether it's for medicinal or recreational use. Tobacco, pharmaceutical and alcohol companies will fight hard to try and prevent the inevitable.

Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Vote yes. We can use the tax revenues to pay our ridiculously high managerial benefits to the city. San Jose paid for a branch library and 18 cops.

Ever visit a cafe in Amsterdam? Civilized people sitting around drinking coffee and playing scrabble. Oh, the horror.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm

The discussion should not be whether or not there is any benefits to mj for medical reasons. The discussion should not be about comparisons to tobacco and alcohol. The discussion should be whether or not we want dispensaries in Palo Alto.

I say that we do not want them because rightly or wrongly they will encourage users to come to Palo Alto to get their supply when they can get what they need by other means including delivery to their door.

I am worried about the quack medical people who will set up right beside a dispensary to give medical approval. These quacks set up beside any mj conference, show, dispensary, to give their certificates for a charge to make money for themselves.

I am worried that there will be people who vote yes for reasons like getting sales tax $ for Palo Alto. Or to reduce the suffering for the chronically sick in Palo Alto. These are just the wrong reasons for allowing these dispensaries. I just hope that all those who were coerced (and they tried very hard on me every time I went to Safeway) into signing the petition will think much harder before voting at the ballot box than they did while being interrupted on the way back to their cars.

Posted by StonersSuck
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm

My vote is a loud and clear NO.
Drive by the dispensaries in San Jose, SF, Oakland and you'll see something that you wont like. Nothing but out right criminals, potheads losers with make believe injuries and aliments.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Even if ... the dispensaries are overrun by "recreational users" with prescriptions written by "quacks" ... those quacks have to be real doctors, and the money is at least in the regular economy and the dispensaries need to pay their taxes, and they provide employment ... probably mostly for people who cannot find jobs elsewhere or who tattoos all over their bodies.

Would we rather be seeing this money be illegal, going over the border to corrupt Mexico and kill people there? Would we rather have to pay to house these people who might otherwise be involved in a life of crime?

I thought we learned this lesson once ... in the repeal of prohibition.

It seems we are having to learn all kinds of lessons again and again because human beings seem to lack an outside institutional memory so once we suffer and learn a lesson those in the future just forget it and begin to exploit our human weaknesses for big profit.

They keep trying to keep pot illegal, but it seems that does more harm than good - but there is a ton of money in illegal pot and it pumps nourishment into the worst parts of our society.

The now tell us pot causes brain damage. I've known some pretty high-functioning people with brain damage then, as well as I seem to recall one of my favorite people, no gone, Carl Sagan, was an advocate for marijuana. And with all the neuroscience being done lately on our bodies own endorphins and other chemicals it't not all that impossible to me that we may very soon find that there are all kinds of behaviors that can cause brain damage, such as violence, rage, gambling, sex addiction and others.

Trying new things, and change is always difficult, I don't see why given adequate protections from residential areas and families this should not be allowed to be tried?

Posted by Jim Stamm
a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm

All this unsupported rumor about vquacks and medical fraud , where is the proof?
Cannabis has been used as good, safe and effective medicine in every major culture since the beginning of recorded history 5,000 yrs ago. Cannabis is one to the 50 fundamental herbs of Chinese medicine since 2700 BC.. Cannabis was listed in the US Pharmacopeia from 1985 until 1942, 5 years after prohibition began. It took Harry Anslinger (the godfather of prohibition) 5 years to get it removed because the AMA was opposed to cannabis prohibition. In fact they were not informed about it until a few days before the hearing. Only one Dr. was allowed to speak and he was cut off after a few minutes when he stated opposition to prohibition. In 1944 The La Guardia Commision came out with a scathing report condemning cannabis prohibition as being a scam with no legitimate need for it. Anslinger responded by threatening to jail anybody who contradicted his opinions or did any research on cannabis without his permission. He then ordered a group of doctors to prepare a shame report confirming his opinions. Many years later the doctors recanted their report and admitted it was wrong. Now that there is some ability to study it there are numerous current scientific studies showing that cannabis is a safe and effective medicine. It is estimated cannabis can be used to treat over 200 ailments and complaints. Because of our stupid prohibition most of the currant research and knowledge on cannabis is coming from Israel.

Cannabis prohibition has been a scam from day one. The scammers are riding a gravy train of at least 40 billion dollars per year of tax payers money. Prohibition was wrought from blatant racism, fraud and corruption & monopolistic business practices by Sec Of the Treasury Andrew Mellon and his soon to be unemployed alcohol prohibitionist nephew, Harry Anslinger. Andrew nepoticly set Harry up in a life long position as the head of the newly created Bureau of Narcotics. They did this when they realized alcohol prohibition was not going to last. They pandered to monopolistic business interests, The Duponts, the synthetic fiber, plastic and cotton industries, the Hearsts and paper pulp industry, the Rockafellers and the fossil fuel industry. They used blatant racism and
fraud to obtain their goal of marijuana prohibition. The word "marijuana" was introduced into our society by Anslinger and his consorts to deceive people and pander to anti Mexican racism. Nobody knew they were talking about hemp, cannabis or reefer as it was commonly known as back then. The racism wasn't just directed at Mexicans either. It included blacks asians & middle Easterners too. How sleazy is that and who in their right mind would support or condone it?

One year after prohibition began Popular Mechanics published a front cover headline article about hemp's potential to become the nations first billion dollar crop. This happened because nobody knew hemp had been outlawed because of the fraud involved.

In 1940 Henry Ford unveiled a car manufactured with hemp and run hemp bio-fuel. Hemp bio-fuel
produces nearly 100% less sulfur pollutants and 80% less global warming co2. Prohibition ruined his plans. Our country and the world might not be in such environmental danger if Henry's dreams had been fulfilled.

These are just some of the negatives of prohibition. If you want to keep up to date on the latest in hemp news lifestyle and the legalization movement follow me on twitter @legalizepot2012 Thank You

Read more here: Web Link

Posted by cowper parent
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I offer the following quote by Guy Wench in Psychology Today:
"Teenagers love to complain their parents are too critical of marijuana and that little harm can come from smoking pot. However, a new study suggests that teenagers who use marijuana regularly are at greater risk for long-term brain damage and declines in both IQ and cognitive functioning years later."
Here is the link to the study for your evaluation:

Posted by Lightfoot
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 7, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Silly +1
Logic +1
Anon +1
Jim Stamm +1


Posted by yes
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 7, 2012 at 10:53 pm

everybody voting no, look in the mirror and you'll see the true quack

Posted by Freedom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2012 at 5:57 am

Cowper parent. Teens get their pot in high school. Dispensaries do not allow teens, and the high prices charged to not encourage resale.
Oxycontin abuse is bad for teens too...far worse in fact. Better get the pickets out in front of Walgreens.

Also, most here do not realize that PA has been being serviced by SEVERAL delivery dispensaries for more than 10 years! You're arguing things that "might happen" when in act, they haven't happened ever since I received my first house call delivery about 8 years ago.
That was when I traded my liver killing xanax for a pot brownie each night. My anxiety is just as under control as it was on the xanax, but I don't have to worry about severe physical withdrawal from the addictive properties of the xanax, nor do I need to get my liver enzymes checked every 6 moths as the xanax slowly killed it. I'm over 50 Y.O. a director at a major tech company, have 3 kids and no, I do not look sick. I "look normal" which seems to be some people's mis-guided litmus test as to who should get what medications.
The facts are in on this people. Dispensaries have been in operation all over the state for well over a decade, mostly without incident and surely less incidents than other businesses that serve alcohol.
Its OK if PA doesn't want a brick and mortar dispensary, it won't affect my ability to get the meds I need. If they choose to ignore the data that's already out there about dispensaries affects on the outlying community, that's fine. Ignorance can be a good shield to put up against the facts of reality.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2012 at 8:40 am

I have no objection to Freedom getting his fix as he menions above. He is not smoking the stuff and it arrives here without fanfare. I get the impression he will continue to use that method regardless of how many dispensaries are closer to his home.

The problem is going to be with a bricks and mortar dispensary and it is going to be a real problem. Anyone who thinks it is going to be just another store bringing sales tax dollars into town is just drinking the Koolaid.

Posted by shameful councilmembers
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Let's see Klein, Kniss, Wheeler and Mossar are against this measure?? then it has my vote.
Read in today's paper that Yeh, Scharf and Klein state that they reject the premise that marijuana has any beneficial medical properties in their memo.
What do they base this on? Established research?? personal experience?
This is not surprising coming from Klein--he has always been cold, calculating and lacking in empathy. I am disappointed in Yeh--I expected better of him.
Anyway, these 3 councilmembers should be ashamed of themselves for spouting unsubstantiated nonsense in defense of their shameful position.

Posted by Anymouse
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I am in favor of having a medical dispensary, but I've seen them in San Jose and it really looks bad. The workers are outside sitting in lounge-chairs at one, all smoking. In others, the budtenders are usually medicated.

If just ONE of these collectives truly cared, well, I've yet to see it, mainly I just see the money grab.

I think we have enough crime and riff-raff going on here, especially within the past year, with burglaries.

I'll keep driving to San Jose, myself, as I don't want one in this area.

Posted by VoteNo
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm

A really bad idea that will come with a long list of problems for the city.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 8, 2012 at 8:47 pm

The next VP of the USA Paul Ryan-supports states rights re medical pot

After the catastrophic unemployment news he will be the next VPOTUS in November

Ryan supports restrictions on pot use by those under 21yrs and testing for relevant employment and vehicle activities

Paul Ryan supports states rights in this matter-for Palo Alto the solution could be home delivery.

Pot centers in Palo Alto --if they happen-should be restricted to locations next to the animal center-across the freeway.

Posted by pro-pot
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Sharon-try sticking to the topic at hand and leave your political views to a suitable thread. Anyway you are an independent, aren't you? So why the partisan bloviating?

Posted by Southland
a resident of University South
on Sep 11, 2012 at 11:23 am

"Teenagers love to complain their parents are too critical of marijuana and that little harm can come from smoking pot. However, a new study suggests that teenagers who use marijuana regularly are at greater risk for long-term brain damage and declines in both IQ and cognitive functioning years later."

Never mind the fact that many of those parents partook of the herb when they were teenagers.

I fail to see what the big deal is about weed emporiums in Palo Alto. Is it any worse than the folks growing it in their backyards, as is the case now? Besides, Palo Alto is supposed to be this open-minded, ultra liberal, politically correct worker's paradise. Anti-pot attitudes certainly do not fit in with that worldview. Getting high is a complete waste of time, but better to have happy stoners than angry drunks.

Posted by Legit Patient
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 26, 2012 at 9:41 am

I'm SOOO glad that the infrastructure for accessible medical cannabis
exists and has existed for YEARS not without anyone knowing about it, or I should say very few of the general public know about it.
It HAS been going on for years, and the doom and gloomers predictions of dire situations have NOT occurred...for years now. The argument is over folks, some just don't realize it, and because all these bad things have _not_ happened, it hasn't raised any issues among the general public.
Think about that. Leave it as it is. The minute the folks with no skin in the game except for their biased opinions get involved, it'll be ruined.
Vote no to protect MMJ in Palo Alto

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