Roseville repeals medical marijuana ordinance

June 18, 2005

Jason Probst , Auburn Journal (CA)

By a 5-0 vote, the Roseville City Council on Wednesday repealed an ordinance that allowed but governed the placement of medical marijuana dispensaries. The action hopes to eliminate the curious dilemma Capitol Compassionate Care brought when it opened the city's first medical marijuana business in January 2004.

City Attorney Mark Doane said he researched the Supreme Court's June 6 decision in Ashcroft vs. Raich, and upon review recommended the city repeal the existing ordinance.

Doane said the case does not specifically repeal state medical marijuana laws under the federal Controlled Substances Act, but it does give the city enough legal leeway to repeal the existing ordinance.

'What we do know (now) is anyone who possesses marijuana in California, for whatever reasons, is still subject to prosecution by federal authorities,' Doane said.

Capitol Compassionate Care opened in Old Town Roseville under Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana in California in 1996. City leaders could do little more than regulate the placement of these businesses, and passed the now-repealed ordinance to do so.

But on Sept. 3, 2004, the shop was shut down by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency after an undercover agent reported being sold medical marijuana after passing a bogus prescription.

Richard Marino, the store's owner, subsequently had his business and Newcastle residence raided as both sides waited for the Supreme Court decision to clarify the conflict between state and federal law.

Mayor Pro Tem Rocky Rockholm said he is relieved to see that Roseville finally did something about the situation.

'I think at least we finally got a definitive answer. I think we just complied with federal law,' Rockholm said. 'I think it would've been stupid for us to continue to allow it. Let's face it, the majority of people in our community do not support medical marijuana dispensaries.'

Rockholm added that he is not opposed to sick people receiving medication. If medical marijuana were to be administered it would optimally be under a pharmacist's discretion, not a shop owner, he said.

Ryan Landers, state director for the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis, urged the council to reconsider repealing the ordinance, both as an advocate and a patient.

HIV-positive and having battled the onset of AIDS for nine years, Landers said he has to take 'a minimum' of 30 pills per day if he wants to use legal medications to battle symptoms like nausea and lack of appetite - symptoms that smoking marijuana alleviates much more effectively, he adds.

'You get sick,' Landers said of the complex mix of pills that comprise the legal medical regimen.

He said that taking away dispensaries here would only force sick people to seek marijuana elsewhere.

'You also force people to do one of two things,' he said. 'Either drive 200 miles round trip, which is very difficult for a sick person to do, or they're going to go to illegal street dealers. You're going to promote street dealing if you disallow patients to access medicine.

Rosemary Roberts, a Loomis-based online talk show host, said she is pro-medical marijuana and hoped the City Council would assist those 'desperate for your help.' She feels other cities will follow Roseville's lead.

'There are many city councils throughout California that will be watching what happens here,' Roberts said.

Jason Probst can be reached at jasonp@goldcountrymedia.com.



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