Second S.C. pot shop wins approval

April 21, 2006

Shanna McCord, Santa Cruz Sentinel

K.E. Sampson, a Corralitos resident and medical marijuana patient of five years, plans to have the city's second medical pot shop up and running by the end of May.

Sampson received unanimous support for his venture from the city Planning Commission on Thursday, allowing him to turn an empty two-story office building on Limekiln Street into The Santa Cruz Patient Collective.

"Do we need a second one of these shops?" Sampson asked. "Anytime you have one company as a monopoly, that company benefits more than the customer."

Sampson is finalizing security details and lining up marijuana vendors before opening for business.

With an estimated 3,000 medical marijuana patients in Santa Cruz County and few outlets to access the drug legally, proponents say two dispensaries within blocks of each other will keep users from having to drive to San Francisco or Oakland to buy the drug.

Sampson's office is located in the city's Harvey West industrial area.

Greenway Compassionate Relief Inc., the city's first medical marijuana dispensary, opened on DuBois Street in September, a few blocks from Sampson's office.

Greenway owner Lisa Molyneux has said she encourages other shops to open as a way to bring competition and community support to the medical marijuana issue.

While state voters approved the use of marijuana for medical reasons by passing Proposition 215 in 1996, federal authorities have made it clear that U.S. drug laws prohibiting possession, distribution and use of marijuana will be enforced regardless of California law.

Marijuana critics say there the drug has no medicinal benefits, and its harmful effects are often underrepresented.

Contact Shanna McCord at smccord@santacruzsentinel.com.



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