No on Measure C | September 14, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - September 14, 2012

No on Measure C

Other cities' experiences with medical-marijuana shops show it's a bad idea

With Peninsula cities having almost uniformly passed ordinances prohibiting so-called medical-marijuana dispensaries, Palo Alto has been targeted by medical-marijuana advocates and libertarians as a place where a liberal electorate might be persuaded to overturn that ban.

An initiative petition signed by almost 5,000 registered voters forced the City Council earlier this year to choose between adopting the measure as presented or putting it on the ballot in the November election.

To no one's surprise, the council opted to let the voters decide, and on Monday it voted unanimously to officially oppose the measure.

The signature-gathering effort itself was highly controversial, with many complaints about aggressive solicitors and deceptive descriptions of the measure.

If passed, up to three dispensaries would be entitled to operate in Palo Alto, as long as they pay a $10,000 permit fee and a city tax of 4 percent of all gross receipts. Hours of operation would be limited to between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., and they could not be located in residential neighborhoods or near schools, parks or day care centers. Proponents characterize the measure as a way for terminally ill Palo Alto residents to conveniently obtain marijuana for pain relief and for the city to raise revenue.

When California voters passed Prop. 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, they made legal the limited cultivation and physician-recommended use of marijuana and opened the door to a proliferation of retail dispensaries.

Many cities, including Palo Alto and its neighboring communities, moved quickly to adopt prohibitions on dispensaries. Others, including San Jose and most other large cities, adopted regulations and rules that permitted dispensaries and have been dealing with problems ever since.

In San Jose, dispensaries have become places attracting loitering, disorderly conduct and drug use. City officials there are now trying to figure out how to close them down. In spite of Prop. 215's requirement of a physician recommendation to purchase medicinal marijuana, in practice most dispensaries are not asking for legitimate documentation and almost anyone can purchase it.

The last thing Palo Alto or any other city needs are such problems, and we therefore urge voters to defeat Measure C.

In opposing Measure C, Palo Alto council members cited a variety of reasons, including legal uncertainties, fear of attracting buyers from throughout the Peninsula, belief that dispensaries are a subterfuge that have little or nothing to do with medical treatment, and the disruptive atmosphere in the vicinity of the dispensaries.

Another big part of the problem is the confused legal situation surrounding marijuana use in California. Penalties for personal possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults have been reduced to infraction status, and passage of the Compassionate Use Act made it legal under state law to grow and use small amounts of marijuana for medical use. But we don't think many voters envisioned that allowing limited legal cultivation would lead to the problems created by the establishment of dispensaries and the need and desire of local jurisdictions to impose regulations.

Since federal law contradicts California law and continues to make all of this a crime, the latest concern of cities is that anything short of prohibiting dispensaries could leave them vulnerable to federal legal action. Several Palo Alto council members warned that issuing permits to dispensaries could be viewed as aiding and abetting an illegal activity by federal authorities.

On the other hand, City Attorney Molly Stump also cited several cases before the state Supreme Court on the question of whether cities have the right to impose any regulations due to the fact the Compassionate Use Act created legal rights to cultivate and dispense marijuana for medical purposes.

But one Long Beach case the Supreme Court opted not to review ruled that a Long Beach ordinance similar to the one proposed in Measure C violated federal law.

The negative impacts of dispensaries in cities where they are allowed are reason enough to defeat Measure C. The continuing legal uncertainties and the fact the courts have not yet clearly established the authority of cities to allow, regulate or prevent dispensaries are all the more reason why this ballot measure should fail.


Posted by FrankF, a resident of Ventura
on Sep 14, 2012 at 10:46 am

FrankF is a registered user.

Unless the Council passes an ordnance stating how to get a dispensary approved they have very little to stand on besides NIMBYism. There may be a need to restrict the hours, prohibit loitering insist on private security or police on site but until these are discussed and there is a path to follow we will get measure C's.

Every argument I've heard against local dispensaries are things that can be prevented while allowing the dispensary.

Posted by Silly, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 14, 2012 at 11:03 am

Vote YES. We need the tax revenues to pay the ludicrous salaries and benefits enjoyed by city workers. San Jose paid for 16 cops and a branch library.

Posted by Tracey Chen, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 14, 2012 at 11:17 am

do your own research people. that this garbage was even allowed to be published (I guess they don't employ fact-checkers) tells me you can't trust anything this rag publishes.

I don't approve of the's too restrictive. I don't approve of the city council's illegal ban on them in the first place. I don't care that federal law doesn't like state law. I think the local authorities who are so full of themselves they think they have the right to ban what the STATE law allows ALL over the state are traitors who should serve jail time for preventing the good state laws 215 and 420 to come into play and allow safe access...

Anyone who wants to learn more is free to contact me. I am so disappointed in the low levels of education in our "representatives."

Posted by Jim Stamm, a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2012 at 11:43 am

About the councils objections
Legal uncertainties
It is not a legal uncertainty that the voters gathered enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot and that the voters also approved 215. It is the primary duty of politicians to facilitate the will of the people rather then looking for weaselly ways to circumvent it. Federal law was wrought from so much blatant fraud, racism and corruption that any anybody who supports it is unfit to be a public servant.

Fear of attracting buyers from throughout the Peninsula
Most cities would be happy to see businesses bringing in out of town customers. Your bigotry against the sick and disabled is noteworthy. Not one iota of concern or compassion for those who suffer and can be helped by this age old herbal remedy.

Belief that dispensaries are a subterfuge that have little or nothing to do with medical treatment
Pure right wing rhetorical BS.
Cannabis has been used as good, safe and effective medicine in every major culture since the beginning of recorded history 5,000 yrs ago. In fact pot is safer than aspirin or tylenol to use. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response. Cannabis is one to the 50 fundamental herbs of Chinese medicine since 2700 BC.. Cannabis was listed in the US Pharmacopeia from 1985 until 1942, 5 years after prohibition began. Although it was used for a wide variety of ailments cannabis was most commonly prescribed for pain relief and sleep disorders. Here is a link to the ANTIQUE CANNABIS BOOK Web Link with 2,000 pre-1937 medical cannabis products documented. It took Harry Anslinger (the godfather of prohibition) 5 years to get cannabis removed from the pharmacopeia because the AMA was opposed to cannabis prohibition. In fact they were not informed about it until a few days before the hearing because the whole thing was railroaded through congress in just a few days. Only one Dr. was allowed to speak and he was cut off after a few minutes when he stated the AMA's opposition to prohibition. In 1944 The La Guardia Commision came out with a scathing report condemning cannabis prohibition as being a scam with no legitimate need for it, done by desperate unemployed alcohol prohibitionist. Anslinger responded by getting them all fired and threatening to jail anybody who contradicted his opinions or did any research on cannabis without his permission. He then ordered a group of doctors to prepare a sham report confirming his opinions. Many years later the doctors recanted their report and admitted it was a sham. Now that there is some ability to study it there are numerous current scientific studies showing that cannabis is a safe and effective medicine. It is estimated cannabis can be used to treat over 200 ailments and complaints. Because of our stupid prohibition most of the currant research and knowledge on cannabis is coming from Israel and Canada.

Disruptive atmosphere in the vicinity of the dispensaries
That is a totally unfounded allegation. I have used dispensaries from the beginning in 1996 and never ever found that to be the case. Most dispensaries are so benign you might not even know they were there if it wasn't for the signage. Most dispensaries are very safe and have security people & extensive video surveillance systems. If any thing I find that bars and establishments selling or serving alcohol provide 100 fold more disruptive behavior.

Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I can't believe people have so much to say...Vote how you want to vote - simple as that!
Do your own research and figure it out. You should never go on what ANYONE else SAYS about any measure, make your own decision.
Personally, I do not use, but I think we could use the revenues and with the proper policing, as with any business, things will be fine.
We are always going to have to deal with crime, regardless!

Posted by GougedInMidtown, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Good for the city council that they have recommended the citizens to vote against this. Why should this city which is a highly desirable place to live in deal with the drugs and loitering that comes from having these dispensaries? Anyone that wants medical marijuana can go a short distance to San Jose and get it. This is not about being hard hearted, not liberal or not progressive. It is simply a matter of preference. Just like there are those posters who have expressed strong opinions in favor of the dispensaries, there are those of us who oppose it. And I am not right wing, fundamentalist or a conservative. You will find plenty of moderates like me who equally dont want this in our city.

Posted by Midtowner, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2012 at 11:07 pm

I agree with GougedInMidtown.

We don't need, nor want, marijuana dispensaries in Palo Alto. It has nothing to do with one's politics. I am not right-wing, fundamentalist or a conservative either. I actually have rather liberal views on just on a wide range of economic and social issues. But not this. I have children and that's enough for me to say no to this. I don't want such businesses in our town, no matter what arguments in favor of them might be.

No marijuana stores in Palo Alto.

Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 15, 2012 at 6:17 am

One pick up truck driving at 60mph on Middlefield Road and running red lights endangers our population and diminishes our quality of life a thousands times more than a hundred pot dispensaries over a period of a hundred years would.

Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 15, 2012 at 9:01 am

This morning’s Daily News carried a story about a Caltrain southbound Baby-Bullet not stopping at a South San Francisco Caltrain station to allow a stopped northbound train’s passengers to safely (and legally) cross the tracks to exit the train.

Although this incident occurred on August 24th, the article contained few details about the reason the Baby Bullet failed to stop prior to entering the station, other than both of the train’s operators have been suspended, pending further investigation. One final detail was tucked away deep in the article--the stopped train’s operator tested positive for marijuana. The article cited “Caltrain employee privacy rights” that prevented the agency from naming the two train operators involved in this incident--that could have been fatal to a number of people, had they not moved quickly enough to exit the path of the on-coming train quickly enough.

To what extent marijuana played a role in this near-accident is an open question. Knowing Caltrain, they will not report the results of the incident, unless pressed by the public, or the media—so we will probably never know if the train’s operator was “high”, or otherwise sober with traces of THC in his blood that triggered the positive drug test results. However, the thought of Caltrain operators being drug users—even occasional users—should be of concern to everyone in the SF.BayArea.

For those who have posted extensively about how uninformed those of us are who do not want marijuana dispensaries in our town—I would be interested in your explaining to us how having operators of trains, buses and other vehicles of mass transit testing positive for marijuana is nothing to be concerned about. We probably won’t ever be told where this train operator got his marijuana, but increasing the number of sources—such as dispensaries in Palo Alto--does not seem like something that is good for society, at large.

It will be interesting to see if any of the City Councils that are members of the Caltrain “Joint Powers Authority” will take notice of this incident, and call for a strong “zero-tolerance” police for drug use by Caltrain/Samtrains/VTA personnel—back by an aggressive drug testing program? Or, being an election year for many, simply ignore the incident wanting not wanting to incur the wrath of the power labor unions that would otherwise object to aggressive drug testing of their employees—leaving the public at a greater risk from drug using vehicle operators than need be.

Posted by GougedInMidtown, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2012 at 10:17 am

No one with kids will, in their right minds, accept pot dispensaries in our city. And as a property owner with kids I will not accept anything that is likely to be harmful to the value of my property or to the well being of my kids. Especially when such dispensaries are within easy reach for those who need them. Enough said on this topic. The votes will tell.

Posted by Carlitos Waysman, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm

All the pot heads for measure C, having said that, I am 100% against that measure.
Just picture all kinds of people flocking to Palo Alto to buy their fix, whether for their own use or for re-selling; at a time when other cities that hastily approved the sale marihuana in the past, are shutting them down or restricting their operation, it would had been STUPID for the Palo Alto City Council to support this measure.

After all, is it worth it to go against the Federal Law, just for the potheads?

Brownies anyone?

Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm

NO to marijuana.

Posted by Jim stamm, a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Just came across this lil tidbit.

UCLA Study finds no link between medical marijuana outlets and crime
Web Link

Rand Corp also did a study which included data from 1200 law enforcement agencies that came to the same conclusion. In fact their study found crime went down in areas where dispensaries were located. They attributed it to the presence of security personel and video cameras. That study inadvertently omitted LAPD reports so some people discredit it.

Posted by SoberSafeKids, a resident of Community Center
on Sep 16, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Here's how it works:
Stoner in his 20's buys (scam) "medical" pot to deal with his "anxiety". (this is a common, non-specific, untestable diagnosis given by pot docs).

To pay for it, he resells half to teenagers at 2x markup.

Pot trickles down into younger kids who cannot get into the pot clubs.

Bad for everyone, bad for kids. Bad for our community.

The stoners can drive to Oakland for their pot. Or move there.

Vote No on Measure C.

Posted by SoberSafeKids, a resident of Community Center
on Sep 16, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Just so you know...the poster above named "Jim Stamm" is an East Bay pot advocate. Advocating for pot in our town...

Web Link

Now you know who is behinds this measure - it's not Palo Altans in favor of this.

Posted by Michael, a resident of Atherton
on Sep 17, 2012 at 1:30 am

The biggest problem I have with this discussion isn't the misunderstanding of marijuana's effects (it isn't physically addictive to start), it's the fact that so many people misunderstand the benefits of dispensaries. I'm 20, I graduated high school just a couple years ago and I can tell you whether there are dispensaries or not, getting weed isn't going to be difficult for kids. In fact, marijuana is significantly easier to get than alcohol because it's traded illegally and without regulation. I'm not saying weed solves this issue, but it isn't creating it either.
The claim of a train conductor having smoked weed on the job is similar to if we are arguing alcohol prohibition and you point to someone drinking on the job. Supporters of dispensaries are just as outraged at that man as you are! We understand there are safe and unsafe methods of consumption and if someone is disregarding those that is a crime in itself.
Regardless of one's personal opinion of marijuana, people are going to smoke it. It has many good side effects and many bad ones. It be used responsibly and it can be used irresponsibly. So what this vote boils down to is where you want people to get weed. Do you want gangs to control the marijuana trade in California, not raising any revenue and going about completely unregulated, or do you want dispensaries to do it. Dispensaries raise enormous amounts of taxes and actually make it harder for anyone under 18 to get weed, though anyone who wants weed is going to find a way to get it, same as alcohol. I honestly haven't heard a coherent argument against dispensaries other than that people won't vote for anything they consider to be supportive of weed. Try to be a bit more open minded and you might see this issue a bit clearer

Posted by Michael, a resident of Atherton
on Sep 17, 2012 at 1:35 am

*I meant dispensaries in the last sentence of my first paragraph, not weed. I also should state that I understand weed CAN be addictive and I discourage anyone under 18 from smoking it, and anyone in general from smoking it in excess. I consider it to be similar to alcohol -- fine in moderation.
P.S. The biggest real concern with dispensaries is that they are a business, like convenience stores, that deal largely with cash, and are thus prone to robberies. I would support some type of stipulation in the law that requires security guards or something of that ilk to help prevent crime. Claims of loitering are unfounded (really, why would they increase loitering?) and they don't increase drug use either (people going to dispensaries are not people who don't already smoke weed, let's be honest).

Posted by SoberSafeKids, a resident of Community Center
on Sep 17, 2012 at 7:33 am

The biggest real problem with dispensaries is that they are a scam. This is not a medical issue, it is a recreational drug use issue for most users. Therefore, this is simply a convenience to users to introduce pot into our community in mass quantity. When the quantity goes up, so does availability to teens and younger students.

Vote No on Measure C - - Convenient Cannabis

Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 17, 2012 at 7:51 am

For the confused and uninformed:there are already mass quantities of pot in Palo Alto. Pot is used widely in palo Alto, by teenagers, young adults, adults and sometime even by elderly people. I have been in parties in which weed was smoked by Valley trailblazers, venture capital hotshots, corporate honchos, doctors, attorneys, Stanford professors, etc. Paly kids smoke pot in Town&Country, just across their school.
Are the patrons of liquor stores a better crowd than that of pot dispensaries and do they pose less danger to the community? I doubt that very much.

Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 17, 2012 at 8:57 am

> The claim of a train conductor having smoked weed on the
> job is similar to if we are arguing alcohol prohibition and you
> point to someone drinking on the job.

It’s not a claim—it is a report, based on information provided by Caltrain. Operating any motorized vehicle under the influence of any drug should carry a harsh punishment--particularly if others are harmed, or killed.

While drinking on the job also impairs people’s judgment, it is a little easier to recognize—since people have to carry a container and display the container in order to consume the alcohol. Marijuana can be carried in a pack of cigarettes, which can be displayed in plain view without raising suspicion.

Marijuana has lingering after-effects, of which most people might not be aware. Back in 1985, a study was done at the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital which showed that pilots demonstrated errors in judgment (using flight simulators) up to 24 hours after the consumption of marijuana.

Carry-over effects of marijuana intoxication on aircraft pilot performance: a preliminary report:
Web Link

Ten experienced licensed private pilots were trained for 8 hours on a flight simulator landing task. They each smoked a cigarette containing 19 mg of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and 24 hours later their mean performance on the flight task showed trends toward impairment on all variables, with significant impairment in number and size of aileron changes, size of elevator changes, distance off center on landing, and vertical and lateral deviation on approach to landing. Despite these deficits, the pilots reported no awareness of impaired performance. These results may have implications for performance of complex tasks the day after smoking marijuana.

I was not very impressed with the reasoning of the Palo Alto City Council relative to Measure C. I will be voting NO, but for reasons that are backed up with facts—which seems sadly missing from the Palo Alto City Council's resolution.

I’m not sure I buy the argument about increased crime in the community that can be attributed to the existence of the dispensaries. Local police could have weighed in on this, and provided hard data from their 911/police logs/officer field reports—but we don’t seem to have well developed histories from the police in the towns where dispensaries exist. I have researched the Palo Alto Police arrest history for 1995-2009 where I found that about 10% (on average) of the total yearly arrests over this period of time have been drug related, with most of those arrests being for possession of “drugs”. (About 10% of those arrests are of people under the age of 18 years.) Increasing the supply of marijuana will undoubted increase its use, and increase the number of drug-related arrests—which will then result in an increase in “crime” in Palo Alto.

One of the issues we should be considering is whether the marijuana being dispensed by the outlets is for people with legitimate medical needs, or people who manage to convince a doctor into giving them a note that allows them to buy this drug legally. I was surprised to learn that State of California does not know how many people there are who have been issued these “free passes”—because California does not require the registration of people who claim the need for “medical marijuana”. Some claims that there are over 1M such people claiming to be users of “medical marijuana” (about 3% of the population—but it is readily admitted that no one knows for certain.)

I believe that we should be working towards a drug-free society, rather than one that sanctions/approves the use of various substances that reduce the ability to think, impair the ability to function effectively, and put others at risk. Legalizing marijuana will only lower the bar, and set the stage for legalizing cocaine, heroin, and a host of synthetic drugs that can wreck ever greater havoc on people’s lives.

It may seem like a simplistic slogan—but saying NO TO DRUGS is a very effective way to deal with this problem. Educating ourselves to the debilitating effects of these substances, and making certain that our children are not seduced before they are old enough to learn to drive, is a requirement for every person in Palo Alto, California and the US.

Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 17, 2012 at 9:27 am

Saying No to drugs is a very nice mantra but totally ineffective. It's been about as successful urging young people to abstain from sex till they get married. As long as alcohol and cigarettes are legal, banning pot and pot dispensaries is foolishly hypocritical and totally unproductive. People will continue to use pot, regardless. When abortions were illegal, women still had abortions, sometimes with tragic consequences. Cell phone use while driving is far more dangerous than pot smokers.
Pot will be legalized within a decade, one way or the other. Why stand in the way of what is inevitable.

Posted by TheSummary, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2012 at 9:32 am

Here is the summary of the arguments made so far in support of measure C (which I don't support):

- the problems with dispensaries, hours, location, loitering, etc. can be managed.

- we need tax $$

- it's our right/local authorities are traitors

- most cities would be happy to have the business (which is interesting, as most peninsula cities have banned this)

- cannabis is good & safe (from a long time user)

- dispensaries are safer than bars

- there is no link to crime (I read the study in the link above, actually what they studied is one point in time, examining a map of crime that there were no higher rates in areas with dispensaries. They DID NOT STUDY a before-and-after effect on crime, so it is pretty poor research to substantiate that we will be okay after dispensaries are brought to town)

- weed is easy to get already

Okay, so the argument goes like this: weed is good, and you can get it already; it is no worse than alcohol, and some flawed studies show you won't have more crime.

It is interesting that most of the proponents are coming from a recreational drug use perspective, and are trying to convince why it will be okay with this comes to town. There is no compelling argument why pot smoking is necessary. Not a single explanation of the medical benefits that CANNOT BE OBTAINED THROUGH OTHER LEGITIMATE MEDICAL PROCEDURES or LEGAL PRESCRIPTION DRUGS.

Do you know why? Because there is no legitimate medical reason. Anything pot 'might' claim to benefit, can already be achieved with legal medicine, and often much better.

This is a scam pushed by recreational drug users, and the money behind pot dispensaries and pot growers/distributors.

Vote No on C.

Posted by Richard Steeb, a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2012 at 10:31 am

The scam here is the prohibition of cannabis. It has been included in Western medicine since the days of Sir William Brooke O'Shaughnessy, and was included in the United States Pharmacopoeia until the days of Anslinger. If its only use was recreational, there would be no moral authority to issue a stern look at it while tobacco and alcohol aare sold. Sending your legitimate patients "to Oakland or San Jose" is atrocious and unacceptable.

Three words, ignorant skeptics: "Storm Crow's List".

-San Jose California

Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 17, 2012 at 10:47 am

> Cell phone use while driving is far more dangerous than pot smokers.

This statement would be hard to prove. While it’s difficult to get hard data for marijuana-related vehicular accidents, some evidence does exist—

Web Link

Fourth, drug use, like alcohol use, is responsible for a large percentage of automobile accidents in the United States. In Maryland, 32% of car crash victims tested positive for marijuana.152

There has never been much evidence about cell-phone caused accidents. My own research into this topic, using CHP/SWITRS data,suggests that the number of cell-phone related accidents is pretty low—

Analysis of California Traffic Accident Data Involving Cell Phone Use:
Web Link

Marijuana users twice as likely to cause car crash:
Web Link

> Not a single explanation of the medical benefits that CANNOT

It is even worse than that—

U.S. decrees that marijuana has no accepted medical use:
Web Link

Marijuana has been approved by California, many other states and the nation's capital to treat a range of illnesses, but in a decision announced Friday the federal government ruled that it has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a highly dangerous drug like heroin.

Posted by TheSummary, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2012 at 10:57 am

Right. And all the previous arguments from a recreational perspective are suddenly ignored, and we should focus on the sudden introduction of "medically necessary" once you run out of recreational reasons.

Sooo...let's see - William O'Shaughnessy practiced in 1800s, before chemistry was really understood, or pharmacology. But he liked weed, so it must be good.

By this logic, we should just validate all medieval medical practices, put them in the commercial/recreational domain, away from doctors, and open this up to anyone or anything for profit.

That's Quackery.

Really. We are not buying this argument at all. It's a recreational drug use scam, pure and simple.

Posted by mother of 4, a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 17, 2012 at 11:17 am

I am the mother to 4 kids and married 25 years to a respected member of the medical community, and I support the legalization of marijuana, the industrial use of hemp, and setting up a dispensary in Palo Alto.
It's legal, and a great way to make local revenue.
Palo Alto is a forward thinking, well-educated community, and the necessary security procedures will be put into place.
Just like I support the high speed train through our area, this is another forward thinking endeavor that will benefit the continued success of the area and benefit the generations to follow.
If you don't support dispensaries, don't shop there - just like I do not shop at WalMart.
Cigarettes and alcohol are immediately available every couple of miles in our community, but no one is shutting down these stores.
Cigarette manufacturers won't even list what is in cigarettes because it is a "trade secret".
Now THAT is scary to me as the mother of 4 kids!!!
Please educate yourself on what is really going on, and make your own choices, but don't limit the legal choices of others.

Posted by P.A. Native, a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm

*They say wine has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers and slow the progression of neurological degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. When I hear that I have to laugh. That's just a bunch of winos making excuses for getting their buzz on. I don't want to hear excuses for a bunch of drunks that probably drink wine and get in their cars after dinner parties or loitering near a liquor store. The solution is clear. Ban wine now!*

Posted by Alcohol, a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 17, 2012 at 6:57 pm

when doing stastics, lets not forget that ALCOHOL is a drug. drug arrests could be anything, not just mariujuana. people who smoke marijuana don't smoke and drive, they smoke, eat, sleep.

think outside the box. this is the beginning to drug industry reform. why pay $12 for a pill that may not work and harm you when you can take a couple hits and get better results. there is a use for this great plant or GOD would not have put it on earth for us to use.

it's cousin plant - hemp - produces clothing softer than cotton if you can imagine that AND it lasts forever, more durable too.

Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside
on Sep 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm

There is nothing wrong with using marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes. This is supposed to be a free country. If a citizen wants to smoke a plant, what business is it of anyone else?

The war on drugs is a preposterous failure which does far more harm than good.

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2012 at 10:06 pm

As someone with several associates who smoke marijuana for medical reasons, i find it highly insulting that people on here seem to think dispensaries are simply a legalized way to recreationally smoke cannabis. Sure, with any program there will be a small portion of people who abuse it to obtain drugs (just like people feign other symptoms to get prescription drugs, something much more serious). These people (for the most part) ARE patients, using a drug that is LESS harmful than many prescription drugs for the same symptoms. The only reason you think that the prescription drugs are safer than marijuana is because they are regulated, but you ignore the fact that it COULD be regulated, if we let measures like this pass. The only thing you do by voting no on this measure is drive the same profits the city could be collecting, to underground dealers, who are the real people who raise the crime rate, not legitimate providers of medical cannabis. There are people in the medical cannabis system who have never tried smoking weed in their life, but for a variety of illlness's these people, (sometimes 60-80 years old) choose cannabis over all other prescription drugs, and swear that its the best medicine out of all of them. They don't usually even smoke, they take capsules which takes away the "420 culture aspect" associated with the medical cannabis industry. So trust me, because so many of you are parents out there, there is a 40-60% chance AT LEAST that your kid smokes weed if they live in palo alto. Its not a good thing, but would you rather have them paying a sketchy underground dealer who could potentially link them on to other substances?, or paying an industry that will help support beneficial programs in your communities (as many cannabis "clubs" have). Its your call. You can either continue having kids support underground drug dealing and crime, or bring it above the table, so that it is regulated, safe and at least somewhat harder for kids to obtain.
Also, i hope you feel a little ashamed for trying to prevent people from getting medicine that they and their doctor decided to investigate as a possible solution to a variety of problems. If they think(or know) that cannabis is a better medicine for them than many of the more harmful prescription drugs with the same purposes, Who are you to tell you that they are wrong?
If you dont want to smoke weed, Don't.
If other people do, and have a doctors recommendation to buy it, then you should have no business stopping them from receiving their meds. Dont pretend like its even in the slightest your job to micromanage other peoples lives to that extent.
If you think it will attract crime, and thats your reasoning to preventing these from moving to our city, then I want you to take a real long think. What encourages criminal activity more? A regulated, over the table approach, or encouraging the presence of drug dealers in our community by providing them job security and preventing the legitimate medical sales from eating away at their customer base.

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Have you ever heard of the American medical association and the California medical association? I assuming you have, and if you havent im sure you can infer what these two massive organizations are.

Their opinion on whether Cannabis can be used as an effective medicine? They support it.
I think that gives you an idea of how legitimate Cannabis can be as a medicine. FOr all you who have said that it has no medical value.

Last time I checked these Medical associations were pretty reliable sources for medical information. So dont go spouting a bunch of stuff, thinking your smarter than the doctors who studied it to evaluate its use in the medical field.

Oh, and they think it should be rescheduled. Just putting that out there. Its pretty sad when our government cant recognize the work of its medical associations and continue to assert their stance that Cannabis can not be used medically.

Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 18, 2012 at 7:58 am

> The AMA--Their opinion on whether Cannabis can be used as
> an effective medicine? They support it.

Let's see what the AMA actually said--

Web Link

(2) Our AMA recommends that marijuana be retained in Schedule I of the Controlled
14 Substances Act pending the outcome of such studies. (These two sentences are printed with “strike-throughs”—indicating that the sentence is to be removed.)

14 Our AMA urges that marijuana’s
15 status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating
16 the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and
17 alternate delivery methods. This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based
18 medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product.
(New HOD Policy)

Folks should read line.17/18 carefully, as they clearly state that the AMAs new position does not support the legalization of marijuana. The AMA only called for more research on the matter—back in 2009.

In the summer of 2011, the Federal Government released the following findings--

U.S. decrees that marijuana has no accepted medical use:
Web Link

Marijuana has been approved by California, many other states and the nation's capital to treat a range of illnesses, but in a decision announced Friday the federal government ruled that it has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a highly dangerous drug like heroin.

What is not clear from the scant information on the web about the AMA’s position on marijuana is why they shifted their point-of-view, or the internal process that resulted in the new AMA position. In other words, was there a vote from the membership (about 225,000 doctors/medical students) at the time? If so, what percentage of the members voted? What percentage voted "yes", and what percentage voted "no"?

And if there were not a vote of the membership—who made the decision to shift from seeing marijuana as a dangerous drug to one that might be useful in the medical domain?

What the AMA’s response to the 2011 Federal “decree” is not obvious, as the only articles that pop up in a Google scan for “AMA marijuana” date back to 2009.

Posted by Cancer patient, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2012 at 8:14 am

I was given edible marijuana by a caring friend during my cancer treatments and found it increased my appetite and reduced pain and discomfort during chemo & radiation. My doctors only offered powerful narcotics which I didn't like taking.

I stopped taking marijuana as soon as I recovered from treatments and don't feel the need to continue use now that I am better.

I wonder how many in Palo Alto have a loved one who have had cancer or other illness who would benefit from a little marijuana treatment.

C is for Compassion.

Posted by Spook, a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2012 at 10:29 am

So why are these articles of inflammatory rhetoric never actually signed?

Posted by Midtowner, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2012 at 11:14 am

If cannabis is a good medicine, fine. Then it ought to be regulated as a medicine and sold in drugstores along with other medicines.

We don't want marijuana stores, here. We have compassion for sick people but we also want to protect our children. Morphine is a good medicine for surgeries and other uses. It is available in a controled way to those who really need it. There are no morphine stores around.

Again, true, there already is marijuana around here. However we don't need more. Protect the children.

Posted by Miranda Green, a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 19, 2012 at 7:54 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by mother of 4, a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm

How do we define "protecting" our children? Do we educate them to be curious about the world they live in, so they can make educated decisions and vote as thinking self-informed people? Or do we close their eyes, ears, minds and only teach them math, science, and our individual religious beliefs and fears? Is limiting knowledge a way to protect them?

What is "protection"? What is it to be educated? How do we define these?

I raise my kids to have their eyes and minds open. My kids do not belong to me. They are a part of the human race. They have freedom to choose what makes sense to them as thinking individuals, not because I say so but because it is their right as people. An education is not straight As in school or a college degree. Actually its only by getting questions wrong on a test, that we know what we still have to learn. Getting things wrong is a good thing!

To say that a medicinal marijuana dispensary in Palo Alto would be in any way dangerous to kids, is the same as saying that it is dangerous to kids to allow two people of the same sex to be married. There is no logic in it, just emotion and fear.

The conversations with our kids that would hopefully follow the arrival of a dispensary would be priceless - why are sick people using marijuana? why do some people feel that it is wrong? why does the government refuse to approach the legal use of marijuana the same way it does any other medicine? Where are the NIH studies and the research dollars for this medicine? Maybe your kid will be the one to grow up and reveal the truth about the medicinal properties of cannabis.

Making laws fit our fears and personal religious beliefs is not "protection", it is prejudice.
Basic human rights allow personal choice for medication and for marriage and for choice of religion.

The fact that alcohol and cigarettes are sold openly and legally, and that 18 year olds can buy cigarettes legally, and 18 and 21 year olds are buying cigarettes and alcohol for younger kids does not make the community shut down all liquor/cigarette stores.

The fact that we all breathe in second hand smoke and some legally smoke cigarettes which contain ingredients that are unknown to us, toxins that the cigarette companies are allowed to keep secret because they are considered a "trade secret", does not make the community make cigarette sales in our community illegal.

Alcohol can kill/harm people who over ingest it, and it kills/harms the victims of drunk people's behaviors;
Cigarettes kill/harm people who smoke them and some people who breathe in second hand smoke;
Prescription drugs have many known and unknown side effects, and are illegally resold to people without prescriptions and both uses can kill/harm people; whereas

Marijuana does not kill and the ingredients are known and it helps sick people!

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm

This is not about same sex marriage, or about religion or about my kids and what I teach them.

This is about my concern for kids in my community. My kids go to school with a lot of other kids and they are influenced by them just as much as by me, and in their teens their peers are often a bigger influence than the parents.

I can teach my kids, but I can't be with them as they face pot patients who are selling half their cache to get the money to buy the half they use themselves. I can warn them but I can't warn the rest of their classmates.

I have seen what happens in areas where pot dispensaries are allowed, and where pot trade shows and conventions occur. I have seen the quacks are selling prescriptions outside for anyone who wants them. I am convinced that there will be more pot for sale aimed at our Palo Alto kids as a result of this measure passing.

Posted by mother of 4, a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm

My kids have been offered other kids' prescriptions for adderall and other prescription drugs they have in their possession while at school. Not dealers, not marijuana patients ... other peers and at school. This is pervasive.

This is a problem that is not solved by attacking one drug, or the presence of dispensaries.
It is solved through education and by that I mean actual factual information given to all people about what a drug is, what is does to your body/mind, and then each person has to decide for themselves what risk they are willing to take with both the drug effects and legal issues.

Same goes for sex ed. Gotta have those tough talks with factual information. Then, ultimately, it is up to that young developing adult to decide and take consequences.
That's the way we learn, from the answers we get wrong and the ones we get right!

You can't be there with your kids all the time, but you can educate them.

Posted by Jim Stamm, a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Sobersafekids demonstrates his shallowness and lack of intelligence by assuming because I posted on the eastbay express that I am from the east bay. I am from the Silicon Valley. I selected from another community. I am not a hysterical liar like sobersafekids is.

I fail to see how maintaining a black market for pot helps keep our children safe or sober. Black marketers don't check kids for id's and they sell other drugs too. I have seen numerous quotes, all over the Inet, by kids that it is easier for them to get pot than booze.
What America needs to do is end this travesty of justice and sanity and re-legalize Cannabis. Our founding fathers used it. Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Monroe, etc., even Abe Lincoln, who wrote one of his favorite pastimes was sitting on his porch with a bowl of sweet hemp and playing his harmonica. If it was good enough for them it's good enough for me.

Prohibition laws kill people and ruin lives.
Tarika Wilson They killed this woman by shooting through her baby.
The baby lost a finger and his mother because of this.
Web Link

Arizona SWAT Team Shoots Iraq Jose Vet Guereno 60 Times No drugs were found.
Web Link

here are some other victims.
Web Link
Web Link

These are just the tip of the iceberg, a mere few of the total sum of people who have died or been harmed because of prohibition laws. After studying prohibition for a while now I am coming to the conclusion that with all the collateral damage of police enforcement, gang warfare, drive-by shootings, robberies, etc. prohibition laws cause far more deaths and harm than pot ever could.

"Posted by SoberSafeKids, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Just so you know...the poster above named "Jim Stamm" is an East Bay pot advocate. Advocating for pot in our town...

Web Link

Now you know who is behinds this measure - it's not Palo Altans in favor of this."

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Pot heads want the stores. Drug dealers want the stores to sell more dangerous drugs.

Legitimate medical patients should order through licensed and taxed online providers and have Net Flix, Fed X or home delivery of controlled amounts.

Pot stores in PA will spread drug abuse and crime in our community.

Posted by progressive young adults, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 15, 2012 at 12:27 pm

i would just like to start off by saying, that while i am for the legalization of marijuana, i do not support measure c. palo alto is a highly sought after area because of our schools, start ups, and CEO millionaires. allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in this area will sort of cheapen palo alto in a sense. i just feel like getting more businesses and residents here isnt going to work with dispensaries around here. im happy to go and get my medicine from a dispensary in san jose. ( i am currently going through chemo and i use topical oils, tinctures, and THC tablets to make the pain and side effects stop) but on another note, all the parks and schools are filled with kids who are smoking there and dealing it, i know its hard to believe, but your 15 year old straight A student could very likely already joining in on smoking and or selling marijuana....

Posted by The Confused, a resident of Community Center
on Oct 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Can anyone tell me how to fill in the Ballot ? The Ballot has "Yes" and "No" choices on most other measures, but on Measure C, the Ballot's upper line is "For the Ordinance" and the lower line is "Against the Ordinance", no marking of "Yes" or "No". So filling the upper line ( For the Ordinance ) means for having dispensaries or against having dispensaries ?

Posted by Rob, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2012 at 9:59 am

A $ 30,000 permit fee to buy anew each police car to park outside the dispensaries would be ok. But these three dispensaries that could be shut down by a Federal raid seems like a legal problem for the city to be taken up with seasoned legal advisors. The permit fee may not be refundable. We charge $ 625/hr. to investigate such cases. Maybe we should find out what the legal implications are concerning these matters before passing such a questionable measure? Sad news is that the Federal government has two very different strategies to deal with the discrepancy depending on whether there is a republican or democrat in the white house. Maybe Obama, who has admitted to smoking pot, would care to comment on his medical views on marijuana and measure C?But don't hold your breath. Web Link

Posted by Cancer Survivor, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Confused, Rereading the article, it looks like 'for the ordinance' is in favor of the pot markets. (the city council opposed them)

My 2 cents:

We are blessed with one of the best hospitals/medical schools in the world right here in our back yard. There are so many hard working doctors, scientists & nurses doing briliant medicine at Stanford.(okay, I might be a little biased, since they saved my life)

Let's not invite these fraudulent feel-good faith healers to blow smoke in our faces and spout their bogus claims that pot cures everything that ails you.

Their lazy BS is really offensive to those of us who have had to deal with serious illness.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 5, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Any competent MD would never encourage any patient to smoke any thing-least of all pot.

Pot is an established pro cancer agent

If you want to get high-follow Steve Jobs-take LSD

Better still- get a life, focus on your kids and exercise

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