Humboldt med-pot clinic will be open three days a week

December 13, 2004

Andrew Bird, Times-Standard

WILLOW CREEK -- It looks like it belongs in the 1960s.

In the center of town here, on the south side of state Highway 299, sits a funky, multi-colored two-story building that will soon become the first county-authorized medical marijuana clinic and dispensary.

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors last week approved a permit for the Humboldt Patient Resource Center to operate inside this building the same type of growing/dispensing operation it has operated in Arcata for years.

It is not clear when the HPRC will open up shop in Willow Creek.

Neither LindaAnne Cummings nor Connor Hawkins, the HPRC's directors, could be reached for this story.

After a public hearing at last week's Board of Supervisors meeting, the board voted 3-1 to grant a permit for the Willow Creek building, tacking on a number of restrictions.

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The clinic, which will grow marijuana inside the building, will be open for business just 21 hours per week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Cummings told the Board of Supervisors the HPRC needed to open a clinic in Willow Creek because about 50 of its Arcata customers travel regularly from this community and the surrounding region.

Only those with medical marijuana recommendations issued by doctors in Humboldt County will be allowed to purchase from the clinic.

A caretaker will live full-time at the building.

The building itself operated briefly early this year as a medical marijuana dispensary. In recent years the building has housed a beer bar and was home to a river rafting company -- also briefly.

Claude and Lillian Perras of Fortuna own the building, which boasts a two-bedroom apartment on the second floor.

Jill Geist, the Board of Supervisors chairwoman whose District 5 includes Willow Creek, said the board did what the state Legislature has failed to do.

'What it boils down to is the people of the state gave the charge they wanted medical marijuana recognized,' Geist said.

'The state has taken no responsibility for production and distribution -- the state has abdicated its responsibility,' Geist continued.

By all accounts, the HPRC has gotten along well in Arcata.

'There have been no law enforcement problems -- there have been no complaints along that line,' Arcata Police Chief Randy Mendosa said.

Tom Conlon, Arcata's community development director, said the clinic has operated within all of the city's code requirements.

'Connor Hawkins has been great to work with from the city's standpoint,' Conlon said.

However, there is considerable opposition to the clinic in Willow Creek. Several local residents showed up at the hearing to try to dissuade the supervisors from granting the permit, including Patrick Bryant.

'The whole group that was there was highly disappointed,' Bryant said Monday. 'It's still a federal crime isn't it?'

'The supervisors don't care about us,' he said.

'I have to go to Eureka to go to my doctor,' Bryant added. 'Why can't they drive to Arcata?'

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