Modesto City Council reaffirms pot sales ban

December 14, 2005

Garth Stapley, Modesto Bee

Last-ditch pleas Wednesday by several impassioned medical marijuana users — and the threat of a lawsuit — weren't enough to derail Modesto leaders' ban on sales of the drug.

Councilman Denny Jackman, defeated in a runoff election by Planning Commissioner Kristin Olsen, did not attend Wednesday's meeting, missing his last chance to cast official votes.

The council last week voted 5-0, with Jackman and Councilman Garrad Marsh gone, to force a medical marijuana shop on McHenry Avenue to close within six months, and to ban all cannabis sales in the future. Several users asked the council to reconsider Wednesday at a second and final reading of the ordinance.

"You're picking on the weak and the poor," David Walker said with much energy, as Mayor Jim Ridenour urged calm. Walker was the only one of 10speakers to identify himself.

A man who said he represented the McHenry Avenue shop, California Healthcare Collective, but refused to identify himself, said the store will sue City Hall, claiming discrimination toward the disabled and disregard to constitutional rights.

Marsh stepped down from the dais during the discussion because he had missed last week's presentation. The other council members reaffirmed the ban.

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