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Oakland council denies cannabis clubs' legality PDF Print E-mail
San Francisco Bay Area
Written by Jackspace   
Dec 22, 2005 at 08:12 PM
from: Inside Bay Area

OAKLAND — Measure Z, which made private adult use of cannabis the police department's lowest priority for law enforcement, does not allow commercial sales of the drug at private clubs, the City Council decided Tuesday.

Brimming with outrage, more than a dozen supporters of the measure, which passed with 65.2 percent of the vote in November 2004, accused council members of thwarting voters by narrowing the measure's scope.

However, a majority of the council decided allowing private clubs to sell cannabis to adults would threaten the city's medical marijuana dispensaries by inviting the federal government to crack down on Oakland.

"It would be an enforcement nightmare," said Councilmember Jean Quan.

Councilmembers Nancy Nadel and Desley Brooks voted no, and Vice Mayor Jane Brunner abstained.

Nadel and Brooks said they favored referring the matter to the Measure Z oversight committee to craft a definition of private marijuana use, cultivation, sale, possession and distribution under the ordinance.
Richard Lee, the owner of SR 71, one of the city's medical marijuana dispensaries, said private clubs have been operating since the passage of Measure Z.

Measure Z also requires the city to lobby the state to legalize adult possession, cultivation, distribution and use of marijuana and set up a system to tax and regulate the sale of the drug if it is decriminalized. However, City Attorney John Russo has ruled those provisions unenforceable.

The 11-member oversight committee finally has enough members to meet, 14 months after the election.

Councilmember Larry Reid (Elmhurst-East Oakland) and Quan have not made their appointments, said City Clerk LaTonda Simmons.

Susan Stephenson of the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance said she was eager for the committee to start work and compile data from the Oakland Police Department to determine whether marijuana-related arrests have declined under Measure Z.

"We're weighing our options," Stephenson said.

The council also directed City Administrator Deborah Edgerly to expedite any requests for the two unused medical marijuana dispensary permits. Two of the four clubs permitted in Oakland were recently closed down for a variety of code violations, Edgerly said.
Last Updated ( Dec 22, 2005 at 08:22 PM )

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