Lancaster Extends Moratorium on Dispensing & Sales of Medical Cannabis
Dispensing & Sales
of Medical Cannabis
Mayor Parris Warns
‘Major Enforcement Effort’
Less Than 48 Hours Later,
LANCASTER - With the 45-day Urgency Ordinance prohibiting the sale and dispensing of medical marijuana adopted in December set to expire, the Lancaster City Council voted to extend the prohibition at their January 12, 2010, meeting for an additional ten months and 15 days.
Mayor Rex Parris opened the public hearing and relinquished the floor to City Attorney Dave McEwen for his staff report wherein the city attorney explained that the council’s adoption of the proposed extension that evening would set the new expiration at December 7, 2010, for a total moratorium time-span of just under one year.
After McEwen concluded his report Parris opened the floor for comments from the public. Lancaster resident Clarence Johnson addressed the council first and explained that he was a medical marijuana patient without a driver’s license, which made it difficult for him to travel to the San Fernando Valley to obtain his medicine.
Johnson reminded the council that despite their prohibition on dispensaries, marijuana was easily had on the streets of Lancaster illegally, and then shared his opinion that the City’s ban was “ridiculous.”
“Whether it’s a dispensary or whether it’s someone in an alley somewhere, there’s people selling marijuana in Lancaster,” said Johnson.
David Paul, candidate for mayor at Lancaster’s upcoming April municipal election, followed Johnson. Paul did not defend medical marijuana but argued instead for the repeal of marijuana prohibition as part of a complete end to our nation’s failed War on Drugs.
“It’s not that drugs are good, it’s that the ‘War on Drugs’ is worse,” said Paul.
Paul said marijuana was the “least harmful substance that people use to alter their moods,” then added when a young person smokes marijuana and discovers it isn’t the devil it is made out to be, adults lose credibility, and from this, young people can be expected to think adults have also lied about the drugs that are actually dangerous, like cocaine and alcohol, enticing them to try them too.
“Let’s remove marijuana from the list of terrible things and call it what it is. It’s just a plant that people have used medicinally for thousands of years,” added Paul.
Following Paul to the lectern was January Ohelo who informed the council she appeared month-after-month to speak on-behalf of those that were unable to attend and speak for themselves.
Citing Proposition 215, The Compassionate Use Act, approved by voters in 1996, Ohelo informed the council the law states marijuana may be used for any serious medical condition for which it provides relief, not just to alleviate the suffering of those dying of AIDS or cancer.
Ohelo then rattled-off a litany of ailments from which marijuana has been known to provide relief to include diabetes, nightmares, bulimia, alcoholism, tobacco dependency, carpal tunnel syndrome and Hodgkin’s disease.
Instead of Lancaster running away from the issue by implementing a moratorium, Ohelo said she preferred Lancaster take the lead, stand-up, and explain to children, “This is our Nyquil, this is our valium, this is our vicodin…and this is our medicinal cannabis, and this is all off-limits.”
Ohelo suggested the council take a look into their own medicine cabinets when they get home that evening because teenagers today have been known to steal their parents’ prescribed laboratory-engineered dope to catch a cheap and dangerous high.
Melanie Coker asked the council for local regulation of collectives, to include her own. She then took issue with another local collective that drew attention to their operation by hosting a grand opening party and explained to the council her philosophy that collectives should not seek public attention, but rather operate quietly and discreetly.
Barbara Mayzels recommended the council not implement prohibition and instead establish a set number of dispensaries that may operate in Lancaster and then regulate them appropriately as the City does with the dangerous and deadly vices of tobacco and alcohol.
Referencing the “In God We Trust” motto displayed behind the council, Mayzels offered Lancaster’s pols advice on how to develop the political courage to address medical marijuana. Mayzels advised the council, “Don’t be afraid, roll away from the rocks, because, ‘In God You Trust.’”
Comment from the public concluded with Mayzels remarks and Parris called for discussion from the council, of which there was none, except by Parris. The mayor reaffirmed his commitment to provide access to marijuana for seriously ill people saying, “We can work harder to