New city ordinance doom pot clubs in 'Oaksterdam' neighborhood

June 14, 2004

, Oakland Tribune

Several medical marijuana clubs in a downtown neighborhood face closure after
an ordinance allowing the city to regulate the clubs went into effect June 1.    The neighborhood - nicknamed Oaksterdam, after the freewheeling Dutch capital
where marijuana use has been decriminalized - is home to about a dozen clubs,
where patients bearing a doctor's note can purchase marijuana for medical

   In February, facing complaints from some businesses and residents about
increased crime and other problems associated with the clubs, the city council
adopted an ordinance limiting the number of clubs to four. The rest of the clubs
will have to stop selling marijuana, or face a crackdown by police.

   'All that you see around us will be gone,' Jeff Jones, executive director of
Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative, said Monday. 'They're shutting almost
everyone down, and I don't think that's good for the patients.'

   While federal law prohibits the use or sale of marijuana for any reason, nine
states including California permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

   In 1998, Oakland enacted one of the most sweeping protections of medical
marijuana use in the country, allowing patients to possess 24 times the amount
of pot permitted under state law.

   Councilwoman Nancy Nadel, whose district includes Oaksterdam, supported the
new ordinance but said she hopes to revisit the law and allow more clubs to
remain open.

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