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Rocklin Makes Pot Ban Permanent

The council just says no to medical marijuana sales.


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Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Author: Kim Minugh -- Bee Staff Writer
Published: Sunday, July 18, 2004
Copyright: 2004 The Sacramento Bee
Contact: [email protected]

Though Rocklin officials expressed sympathy for medicinal marijuana patients last week, a temporary ban on pot shops in the city will become permanent next month.

City Council members voted 5-0 to permanently ban the commercial sale of marijuana within city limits, cementing into city code the temporary ordinance passed June 17.

That ordinance was set to expire late this month, but members also voted to extend its shelf life until the permanent law goes into effect in late August.

The law does not address the possession or use of medicinal marijuana in Rocklin and also does not prevent sanctioned caregiving facilities from issuing the drug to patients.

At Tuesday's meeting, council members largely abandoned their earlier justifications of protecting Rocklin's family atmosphere and instead expressed support for patients.

They added, however, that no need has been demonstrated for a store in Rocklin.

"I want the people who need marijuana to get the marijuana, but I have not had letters and phone calls from people supporting opening a distribution center," Councilwoman Kathy Lund said. "I have had letters and phone calls from people who don't want it."

Officials argued that patients need to travel only a few miles to Roseville to obtain their medication from a shop in that city.

"We have a limited police force here. We don't have a lot of extra manpower to gamble" with potential problems, Councilman George Magnuson said.

"We have not shorted our citizens. Our citizens have the right to go to Roseville."

A small number of residents and activists pleaded with the council members to rethink their opinions.

Though not all of the speakers agreed that Rocklin needs a store of its own, most objected to the way some city officials have characterized medicinal marijuana, dispensaries and their effects on the surrounding community.

When the council passed the temporary ordinance last month, members said they feared that opening a store would disrupt Rocklin's suburban, family oriented atmosphere and that it would not reflect the values of what was described as the city's high-income, highly educated population.

"The comments I read in the paper offended me," resident Ken Jeffries said.

He said his grandson had used marijuana at age 7 to tame severe behavioral problems that kept him from functioning in school and at home.

"I have never used marijuana," he said. "I don't plan to use marijuana, but our grandson did. He was able to have a better life."

The boy later was forced to discontinue his treatment and is now living in an out-of-state residential facility.

LaRayne Jeffries, Ken's wife, said her family fits the typical Rocklin demographic but does not fit the image portrayed by some city officials.

She said she, too, previously had misconceptions about medicinal marijuana and even admitted to having voted against Proposition 215 - the 1996 initiative passed by California voters legalizing the use of medicinal marijuana.

But she said her feelings changed after watching the transformation of her grandson under the drug.

"We wouldn't have voted against 215 if we knew then what we know now," LaRayne Jeffries said.

Ryan Landers, state director for the American Alliance of Medical Cannabis, told the council that the Jeffries family is proof that average people can benefit from medicinal marijuana.

"It would shock you who (patients) are when you finally meet them," he said.

Landers said the threat of pot shops has been exaggerated and misrepresented by city officials. He also said council members' beliefs that stores could corrupt Rocklin's community were interpreted by some as derogatory toward patients.

"Telling them they're trash, that's going to offend your citizens," he said.

City officials vehemently denied making such characterizations.

"I don't recall telling our people to go to the streets, calling people trash," Lund said. "We don't do that type of thing."

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