Anthony said the city officials needed to take another look at their own code.

The zoning code allows for pharmacies to dispense medicine in accordance to the law. I dont see how this is any different than Walgreens or Longs. They are providing a medication in accordance with the law, he said, noting that local pharmacies already sell drugs that contain the active ingredient in marijuana.

I dont think Longs has to go to the zoning department every time a new drug comes on the market.

Anthony also pointed out that according to the code, the only retail businesses that need permission to specifically operate in downtown Tracy are limited to those that sell, fuel, ice, hay, grain, feed, tombstones and auto accessories.

The city is clearly in error and they are abusing their discretion, Anthony said. There is nothing in the city code that states the Valley Well-

ness Center cannot continue to operate.

Bernadette Zachariah, one of the property owners, said she did not want the building used in any illegal way.

We would not have rented the building to them if we had been aware they are going to be providing medical marijuana, she said. We dont want to be involved with breaking the law in any way. We were under the impression that they were going to be providing herbal products and vitamins.

At the close of the hearing, Zachariah added that the outcome of the process would factor into her decision about the building and her controversial tenants.

I wouldnt be opposed to maintaining them as tenants, as long as no laws are being broken, she said.

Before the hearing was adjourned, a number of local medical marijuana patients with maladies ranging from cancer to severe back pain, asked to be heard.

Some broke down in tears as they explained that medical cannabis provides a variety of pain relief and other benefits that cannot be found in more mainstream drugs.

Among those speaking was Manteca resident Scott Smith.

There has got to be a way for patients to be able to access their medication locally, Smith said, adding that it prolonged his fathers life when he was dying of cancer. It makes you want to eat when you are going through chemotherapy. There are no other drugs that do that.

Both Anthony and Sodergren will submit arguments on the lease issue, and the hearing officer will make her decision.