Do You Want Pot Shops in Santa Monica?

Community meeting to share your thoughts with city planners on whether to allow medical marijuana dispensaries is next week.

City planners are asking the community if they want to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Santa Monica.

And, if so, how they should be regulated: should there be a cap on the number allowed to operate in the city? Should there be a required distance from schools? What hours should they operate? Should they be allowed to cultivate the plants on site?

A community meeting for residents to voice their opinions is set for 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday in Santa Monica's main library, at 601 Santa Monica Blvd.

"It's an open book," said principal planner Paul Foley.

There's currently an "emergency" moratorium on pot shops in Santa Monica.

See: Santa Monica Says No Permits for Pot Shops

City staffers have previously called the operations  a "risk to the public peace, health and safety."

They have told the City Council they need time to research their regulatory options, especially when it comes to conflicting state and federal laws, before the put any rules on the books.

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mimi February 02, 2013 at 05:48 PM
How is a medical marijuana dispensary any different from a pharmacy? Both require a prescription in order to buy medication. Let's not confuse a medical dispensary with a smoke shop. There is a big difference. Let's be clear on this. If we are fearful of crimes linked to substance abuse, let's ban all of the liquor stores in Santa Monica.
Steven February 02, 2013 at 06:30 PM
Given the general accessibility to pot shops in West L.A. and Venice, the City is correct in taking a go-slow approach.
stewart resmer February 02, 2013 at 10:40 PM
“If you’re going to put somebody in jail for having a joint in his pocket, you can’t let higher ranking HSBC officials off for laundering $800 million for the worst drug dealers in the entire world — people who are suspected, not only of dealing drugs, but of thousands of murders,” matt taibi on bill moyers http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/02/01/taibbi-tells-moyers-you-cant-let-wall-street-off-the-hook-and-jail-someone-for-a-joint-in-his-pocket/
Jon Mann February 02, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Richard McDonald of Golden State Collective was denied a permit to open a lab to test the purity and strength of different strains of marijuana by our corrupt city council Santa Monica refuses to issue permits for medical marijuana dispensaries, even though Proposition 215 has been state law for 16 years. Marijuana has been proven to help with debilitating symptoms caused by a number of medical conditions. According to City Councilman Bob Holbrook, favorite of out of state developers, “Pot is at least as harmful as tobacco, but more important, it is a precursor drug. I guarantee that anyone who does coke started with pot.” Shades of "Reefer Madness"; wake up Holbrook and smell the marijuana! Holbrook deliberately doesn't mention is very few people who have tried pot become heavy users and become addicted to hard drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that “there is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs”. Holbrook obfuscates the well know fact that cigarettes and alcohol are much more harmful.
Jon Mann February 02, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Properly managed medical marijuana dispensaries can operate safely and taxes on marijuana can generate significant revenue, while providing local jobs. I have long campaigned for Santa Monica to close the airport in 2015 and use the hangers to industrial grow medical marijuana. That way the city could not only tax marijuana, but remove the middleman from reaping the profits! It is very important that there is openness, transparency and oversight so there is no skimming, conflict of interest, cronyism and other unregulated abuses stemming from favoritism in granting licenses, etc. Criminalizing marijuana has driven it underground, making criminals rich and diverting police resources to enforcing a victimless law. Voters in Colorado and Washington have passed referendums legalizing marijuana for recreational use, despite out dated federal laws banning the responsible use of cannabis.
Dan Charney February 02, 2013 at 10:54 PM
A ha- so true- or how about the Bankers getting off scott free- I am all for pot shops- and people using them- funny how we don't allow natural herbs but we do encourage discrimination ( the new club for the rich )- priorities a bit odd here eh?
Dan Charney February 02, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Stewart- you have such a smart, clear, learned voice- I wish to encourage you to join and attend a good council meeting and help turn all this around- we need people like you to help us or they will steam roll this whole town - thanks-
Mara T February 02, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Exactly which Thursday is the meeting? I submit that the City of SM should send a survey to all residents.
Jill February 03, 2013 at 12:51 AM
I would say no . " Medical marijuana should be dispensed by Rite-Aid and CVC. If you want to open a pot shop on Montana or Wilshire I am OK with that. A neighbour of mine died of cancer last year, he had his own plants in his back yard. Anyone who wants to smoke dope can do it free and legal in California. Just grow your own plants.
Brenda Barnes February 03, 2013 at 02:35 AM
But asking the community if they want pot shops--putting it that way, when they are medical dispensaries--is like asking people if other people should be free or other sick people should get medical care. Never would happen. It's a set-up, like all SM's charade outreaches to the public.
Dan Charney February 03, 2013 at 09:20 AM
right- dead on
Brenda Barnes February 03, 2013 at 07:13 PM
Why would we force MM (medical Marijuana) to be dispensed through CVS and Rite-Aid (who won't do it and have opposed any legalization efforts b/c it would cut their profits, MM being far more effective than and less addicting than many prescription drugs they sell)? That's like asking Holbrook, who's a pharmacist, whether we should allow MM in the City. Saying people can grow their own assumes they own their own land. Many people don't, and don't have the ability to control what they can do in apts. Apparently the MM advocates in CA are so strong, they defeated legalization here. That is what we really should have, and as Jon says, profit from it, with complete transparency. Hemp as well should be grown, and once we get over the marijuana paranoia started by Hearst to protect forestry profits, we'll go there. I'm happy to see there are so many open-minded people here. Maybe it will happen if we replace the developers' lapdog members of the Council, all except McKeown, Vasquez, and Winterer--and even they are on probation until they do something stupid.
Tom hays February 04, 2013 at 05:09 AM
Good point. Most people do not attend such meetings and the opinions expressed are not necessarily representative of the community.
Jenna Chandler (Editor) February 04, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Hi Mara T, the meeting is this Thursday, Feb. 7.
Lorenz February 04, 2013 at 06:31 PM
I have no problem with marijuana or if my neighbors are smoking or if a pot shop is next to my apartment. My problem is with the tourists who come in and make a fool of themselves and ruin our community by getting a medical marijuana card in venice and assume that it's okay to act like a fool on our beach. I wouldn't mind if every store sold marijuana, but I would want something like the Netherlands residency requirement to prevent drug tourism from coming into Santa Monica.
Jon Mann February 06, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Brenda, the only difference between the developers' lapdog councilmember, Holbrook, O'Day, O'Connor and Davis, is that McKeown, Vasquez, and Winterer are slighly less pro development. They are still the lapdogs of SMRR and city employees. One would think that all 7 lapdogs would recognize the enormous revenues they and their cronies could tap in to, and still provide a benefit to the residents they normally ignore...
Brenda Barnes February 06, 2013 at 12:37 AM
Between growing and taxing MM and selling renewable energy to the grid--plus many more green, non-polluting, non-traffic producing, non-congestion causing, truly innovative and earth-changing ideas people will come up with when they are free to do so--we won't miss developer dollars at all. We sure won't miss all the costs they never pay for destroying our quality of life.
Brenda Barnes February 06, 2013 at 12:44 AM
If I could only avoid ever going to another staged charade "outreach" meeting put on by the SM Planning Dept! They spend an hr supposedly telling you the parameters of what you're being asked about, then have a break to form small groups to discuss some question for ten minutes and choose a member to speak for the group, then 30 minutes reporting what the groups said, and five minutes saying thank you for doing your civic duty. Then their report of the meeting says something completely different from what happened. No report is ever made of the community being opposed to whatever was proposed, completely, without any discussion of nuances. Disgusting. To manipulate us this way is why we have a City employee for every 35 residents, to create paperwork justifying forcing things on the City that really, no one but developers and their worshiping followers who cannot see any compromise position ever wanted.
Jon Mann February 06, 2013 at 09:58 PM
I will attend this charade only to meet Richard McDonald, and other like minded residents. I would like to know how many past and present city council have been dipping into the public till, and how many staff are also members of SMRR. How much more is Kevin McKeown earning from the school district than he was makingbefore he was on the council?
Brenda Barnes February 07, 2013 at 01:43 AM
I can't go (so sorry--not), so I hope you get your good questions answered, Jon.
Jon Mann February 10, 2013 at 12:32 AM
I attended the medical marijuana public meeting at the Santa Monica library. As usual, it was just another token PR sham to dupe residents into thinking the city wanted our input. There were 5 people from city planning and maybe 20 attendees. Several were pot entrepreneurs probably looking to be chosen to operate in Santa Monica. Karen O'Keefe from mpp.org (Marijuana Project) was there; I think she is a lobbyist. There was one elderly woman who was conce...rned about 2nd hand smoke and another woman who teaches at SMASH. Jerry Rubin was there as usual, cozying up to Kevin McKeown who said he was only there to listen. I introduced myself as the only candidate for City Council who has long campaigned for Santa Monica to close the airport in 2015, and use the hangers to industrial grow medical marijuana. That way the city could remove the middleman and reap ALL the profits from growing, selling and taxing marijuana. Properly managed, a city owned medical marijuana dispensary can operate safely and professionally. Profits on marijuana sales can generate significant revenue, and provide much needed local jobs.
Jon Mann February 10, 2013 at 12:32 AM
Creating a new model for socializing medical marijuana is a golden opportunity for the city to hire doctors with the integrity to determine who was qualified for a 215 prescription, provide a lab and technicians to test the purity and strength of different strains of marijuana for toxicity and potency, and security staff to monitor that the facility was safe and no sales to minors and other abuses took place! It was too Utopian a concept for most to comprehend, especially those who wanted the profit for themselves. The argument against it was that is was against federal law. I feel that our city must not allow its sovereignty to continue to be overruled by county, state and federal entities. What is Obama going to do; arrest the city council? We need to recall the entire council and replace them with people who have no links to any special interests, or are employed by the school district, etc. If I was on the council I would stand up to the Attorney General AND the FAA.
Brenda Barnes February 11, 2013 at 06:19 PM
Your comment, Jon, makes me realize as long as we have them--who would not even post who their contributors were in a way people could find it, when future perks and current and future jobs are the main reasons they are developers' lapdogs--you're never going to have transparency, accountability, honesty, no kickbacks and cronyism in awarding contracts. No plan would work if this Council administered it.
Brenda Barnes February 11, 2013 at 06:20 PM
So true, Jon. Getting money out of politics starts at home.


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