Medical marijuana store opens in Roseville

January 30, 2004

Associated Press, Contra Costa Times

Despite a federal law prohibiting marijuana sales, an activist has opened a store that sells marijuana to qualified patients and caregivers in the historic district of this Sacramento suburb.

But it's unclear how long the new 'cannabis club' will be allowed to remain open, even though California voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996 to legalize medical marijuana under state law.

The measure, the nation's first medical marijuana law, allows Californians with cancer, HIV and certain other chronic medical conditions to grow and use marijuana to ease nausea and other health problems if a physician recommends the drug.

Although Roseville Police Chief Joel Neves told the Sacramento Bee that the store can be operated as long organizers stay within state law, federal officials are not so sure.

Richard Meyer, a special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in San Francisco, pointed out that federal law takes precedent over state authority and that the store could be shutdown at anytime. The Placer County District Attorney's Office declined to comment.

The store owner, Richard Marino of Rancho Cordova, said he became interested in the drug after being hurt in a series of automobile and workplace accidents.

He said he talked to police, the city attorney and the district attorney before applying for and receiving a business license.

The shop's hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, but during the first week of operation business has been slow.

'I'd like to open another in Sacramento,' Marino said. 'I really think this is what's needed.'

Cannabis clubs operate openly in many other parts of California.

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