Medical marijuana likely to be sold at a dispensary in Claremont in the near future.

October 04, 2007

Paul Foreman, Student Life, Pomona State College

It seems likely that medical marijuana may be sold at a dispensary in Claremont in the near future.

In a 3-2 split decision in August, Claremont City Council members Ellen Taylor, Sam Pedroza, and Linda Elderkin passed legislation directing staff to prepare to make code changes allowing a medical marijuana dispensary to operate in the city. Council member Corey Calaycay and Mayor Peter Yao voted against the dispensary.

The City Council of Claremont voted at its last meeting, on Sept. 11, to enact a year-long moratorium on the existence of a medical marijuana dispensary in Claremont. The City Council will continue to debate legislation before passing an ordinance within a year.

Taylor spoke in a phone interview about her vote.

“I voted to have staff come and set up a dispensary,” said Taylor. “There are people who are helped by marijuana. This is not about anyone just trying to get high.”

Taylor said that the City Council would not allow a dispensary without significant regulation.

“We’ve talked about regulating the operating hours of the dispensary,” she said. “We’ve talked about making it a nonprofit operation.”

Taylor also argued that the only effect on campus life will be for those students who need marijuana for medical reasons. Currently, the dispensary closest to the College is in Diamond Bar, about 10 miles away.

“I would imagine that on the campus it’s not at all hard for you to get marijuana now. If there are students who have a need for medical marijuana, it will be much more convenient for them to obtain it.”

In 1996, the California legislature passed Proposition 215, which allows for the sale and possession of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Since then, the issue of whether or not to allow sale in individual cities has been decided at the local level.

“My feeling is that the state should regulate it,” said Taylor. “The state is being very weak in not regulating it.”

Some members of the Claremont community disagreed with the City Council’s decision. In an editorial published in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, former Mayor Al Leiga argued that a dispensary would hurt Claremont’s image.

“That decision is not consistent with being one of the top 10 cities in the nation where people want to raise their children and enjoy a quality of life,” wrote Leiga. “Marijuana is an illegal drug according to the laws of the United States. Saying that it is for medical use does not change the law.”

In general, Pomona students do not seem to think that medicinal marijuana in Claremont would translate into more illegal marijuana on campus.

“I don’t know how easy it is to get medical marijuana illegally,” said Laura Krinsky ’11. “I don’t think it would really affect usage of marijuana on campus.”

“It might make medical-grade marijuana more available on campus,” said Brendan Deiz ’09, “but it wouldn’t make students buy more pot.”

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