Supervisors tell pot club in Ashland to close its doors

March 02, 2006

Karen Holzmeister, Oakland Tribune

Last summer, A Natural Source was in the headlines when a would-be robber was shot to death outside the Ashland medical marijuana clinic.

On Thursday, the business's link to criminal events and its location near an elementary school prompted Alameda County supervisors to deny the cannabis club an operating permit.

Club operator Billy McDonald has 30 days to close, despite support from customers who described the Foothill Boulevard sales outlet as clean and safe.

Mary Lewis told supervisors marijuana eases her pain from congenital joint problems and allows her to function. Lewis said she appreciates A Natural Source because it is clean and tidy and the employees are polite.

The supervisors' decision will leave no dispensary in east Ashland and Castro Valley, the third of three areas designated by supervisors as sites for medical marijuana clinics.

However, supervisors later this month will reconsider shifting boundaries so that Foothill Boulevard in south Cherryland, where the Garden of Eden is located, is added to Area Three. The Garden of Eden dispensary then could qualify for the prized permit since it has been cleared by sheriff's investigators.

We Are Hemp on Lewelling Boulevard is the only dispensary to win permit approval for Area One, San Lorenzo and north-central Cherryland.

If Area Three is expanded to include the Garden of Eden, the Alameda County Resource Center and Compassionate Caregivers of Alameda County would compete for the operating permit in Area Two, northwest Ashland and the remainder of south Cherryland.

McDonald appealed denial recommendations from the sheriff's department and a county administrative panel. Supervisors Scott Haggerty, Nate Miley, and Gail Steele voted to deny McDonald's appeal. Supervisors Keith Carson and Alice Lai-Bitker were absent.



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