More than a dozen speakers addressed the Garden Grove City Council tonight, urging the council members to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate within the city. It was revealed that at least one dispensary has already been operation since April.
The council demonstrated it’s lack of maturity in handling controversial issues when the discussion degenerated to the equivalent of “you can’t make me” and was voted down 4-1 with councilman Mark Rosen being the sole vote against the ban.
Rosen had requested a two week continuance to allow the city’s police department to report whether there had truly been any reports of crime, loitering, or incidents related to a known dispensary in operation on Brookhurst. It was revealed that the Feds had informed the Garden Grove police about the existence ofÂ the dispensary referred to as “Unit D”, which resulted in the evening’s discussion of the city’s existing ban of such facilities.
According to some who spoke on behalf of the dispensaries, there may be three other such facilities operating in Garden Grove.
Earlier this week, the Garden Grove Journal published a story relating that the planning commission’s staff report passed along greatly exaggerated claims of:
- increased illegal drug activity and sales
- robberies of people leaving dispensaries
- loitering around dispensaries
- motorists driving under the influence of marijuana in the vicinity of the dispensaries
According to testimony by supporters of the dispensaries, none of these claims are true. Since the Unit D facility opened in April, there have been no incidents or reports of crimes related to the dispensary aside from the revelation of its existence by federal authorities. It hasn’t been raided or shut down either.
Two conservative regular attendees to council meetings even spoke in support of allowing marijuana dispensaries in Garden Grove. NOT ONE person spoke against issuing business licenses to the non profit suppliers. Speakers pointed out that Unit D and other facilities require identification, enrollment in the state’s marijuana patient database, and prescription documentation before given admittance to the dispensary.
City residents, Unit D customers, a local physician’s stafferÂ (who has written prescriptionsÂ for medicalÂ marijuana),Â the dispensary’s owner, and others offered the following points in opposition to the proposed ban:
- Increased tax revenue for the city by licensed dispensaries
- Unarmed security guards protect dispensary locations
- No one allowed within the dispensary
- Patients who abuse their privileges or misbehave are refused as customers and depending upon the offense, may be black-listed from all area facilities
- Prescriptions are tightly controlled preventing access by casual users
- No underaged patients allowed
- No large quantities allowed to prevent resale
- patients don’t use their prescribed medicationsÂ outside their homes
- Garden Grove residents would be forced to visit dispensaries in Laguna Woods, Anaheim, and other cities
- crimes around and related to liquor stores are common and yet they are allowed to do business in the city
Laguna Woods, a seniorÂ lifestyle community,Â had legalized dispensaries in support of compassionate care and has not experienced any of the complaints listed in the Planning Commission’s staff report.
The council took a five minute break presumably to discuss the matter behind closed doors. Mark Rosen asked to have the matter continued until police had a chance to offer documentation of incidents related to the dispensary or the lack thereof.
Bruce Broadwater offered a curmudgeonly response that in effect cast doubt on the earlier speakers’ honesty and factuality. Dina Nguyen first proclaimed that whenever a council member asked for a continuance that she did so out of respect for their wishes. Steve Jones, who is currently running for election to his appointed seat, mumbled unintelligibly but seemed to go along with Rosen’s suggestion with reservations, and Mayor Bill Dalton expressed his reservations about licensing dispensaries in the city.
In an exchange with audience members, he dared them to push him so that he would vote right then and there to uphold the ban. His attitude came across as bullying and immature. Within seconds, Dina forgot all about extending the courtesy of following Rosen’s wishes and said something to the effect that if Broadwater was going to vote to support the ban then so would she, and furthermore, no amount of research was going to change her mind because she’d been “reading up on it.”
If she had, she would have known that the staff report used distorted Reaganesque propaganda to try to get their way. Rosen confronted her with her sudden lack of courtesy and respect and she just dug herself deeper byÂ offeringÂ wishy-washyÂ comments. Rosen’s efforts were to no avail. The vote resulted in four knee-jerk responses to uphold the ban on medical marijuana dispensaries against one reasoned response to wait for a report by the police department to prove whether the existing facility had had any negative impact on the community.
It’s probably safe to assume that if Unit D has been operating for six months without the police being aware of it, then there probably aren’t any criminal issues besides the fact that the owner’s business license lists Unit D as a medical supply retailer.
I just don’t get it. What part of permitting law-abiding people the ability to access medical marijuana in a safe and law-abiding way do they think is not good for the city or public safety?