Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Author: Tonya Alanez, Times Staff Writer
Published: April 26, 2005
Copyright: 2005 Los Angeles Times
Contact: [email protected]
Calif. -- Medical marijuana advocates sued the city of Fresno on Monday,
hoping to overturn what they called unreasonable restrictions on medical
Americans for Safe Access, an Oakland-based nonprofit group, and William
McPike, an attorney, caregiver and qualified medical marijuana patient,
filed the complaint in Superior Court in Fresno.
They contend that what they refer to as a "ban" unlawfully deprives
qualified medical marijuana patients the medicine allowed them under
California state law.
In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, which legalized the
use of marijuana for medical treatment.
Since then, cannabis clubs have opened in many parts of the state to
distribute the drug. Many cities have instituted moratoriums on such
clubs; three others have banned them.
Under a Fresno ordinance approved Oct. 26, 2004, a dispensary cannot
distribute pot to more than two people.
"It's not a ban," said city spokesman Ken Shockley. "The city law is
clear that, in the city of Fresno, a dispensary is limited to providing
for two patients. If his position is that he cannot dispense medical
marijuana in the city of Fresno, that simply is not true."
Shockley said city officials had not received a copy of the lawsuit or
had a chance to review it.
Joe Elford, the attorney representing Americans for Safe Access and
McPike, conceded that the Fresno ordinance is "oddly worded."
"It looks like they may be leaving the door open to dispensing to two
people," Elford said. "But limiting membership in collectives or
cooperatives to no more than two people does not allow collectives and
cooperatives to function."
Thirty-two cities throughout the state have enacted moratoriums to halt
dispensing while they develop policies to regulate pot clubs.
The Northern California towns of Rocklin, San Rafael and Yuba City have
banned cannabis clubs outright.
Medical pot advocates hope to overturn Fresno's ordinance and encourage
other California cities and counties to adopt "sensible" policies and
regulations around dispensing medical marijuana, said Kris Hermes, legal
campaign director of Americans for Safe Access.
Americans For Safe Access
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