Union City puts off marijuana dispensary

April 14, 2005

Barry Shatzman, The Argus

UNION CITY — It is no wonder Sharon Reignbyrd lives in pain. The 63-year-old great-grandmother, who suffers from degenerative arthritis, has undergone eight hip replacements and has had a knee replaced.

Sitting in her wheelchair, she says marijuana relaxes her muscles enough for her to function.

Reignbyrd, who lives on the Hayward-Union City border, said a medicinal marijuana dispensary in Union City would save her from having to go to San Leandro for her legal dose.

She was one of several medical marijuana patients who spoke at Tuesday's City Council meeting, challenging a city moratorium on dispensaries.

The city had issued an emergency moratorium on dispensaries in March, after learning that one was about to open in the city. On Tuesday, council members voted 4-1 to extend the moratorium until June — a shorter time than the proposed 10 months. Councilman Jim Navarro said the moratorium would give the council time to study the issue.

Councilman Richard Valle cast the lone vote in favor

  of allowing the dispensary to open.

The city ordinance cites potential threats to public health, including increases in crime, in areas surrounding dispensaries.

Robert Raich, attorney for Kindcare, the proposed dispensary, said those are easily avoided problems and dispensaries actually can benefit a community. Raich, whose office is in Oakland, has a medical marijuana case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

'The dispensary has to be a good neighbor,' Raich said.

That means keeping the surrounding area clean and ensuring that marijuana is distributed only to patients displaying the proper ID, he said.

Kindcare owner Shane Carter, himself a patient, said a dispensary in Union City would be the southernmost one in the East Bay, providing easier access for people who live in the South Bay. He said he plans to sell vitamins and supplements in addition to marijuana, offering customers education in alternative treatments.

'I want it to be a nice location so people would feel

  really comfortable about coming in there,' he said.

Reignbyrd said that before dispensaries were legal, she had to get her marijuana from dealers on the street.

'You just hoped he had marijuana and wouldn't be violent,' she said.

Having a dispensary in Union City would make her life even easier, she said.

'This is where I do my shopping. My kids went to Logan (High School). And I hate to have to commute, with the price of gas,' she said.

Be the first to Comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.