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Up in smoke

Submitted by on 1, January 11, 2010 – 5:50 am2 Comments

-8The Planning Board is set tonight to circle back to a proposed ordinance that would bar medical marijuana dispensaries on the Island.

Quick recap: The City Council enacted a temporary moratorium on new pot clubs in December 2008, after they discovered that one had opened up a few months earlier on Webster Street and the city’s planning folks started getting phone calls from other people asking what they needed to do to set up shop in Alameda, too.

City staff looked into the clubs and determined that Alameda should bar them, saying they are illegal under federal law and, potentially, state law as well. They also said clubs elsewhere have been hubs for criminal activity.

Proponents of the club that opened on Webster, Purple Elephant, said it offered a safe place for people to get medicine they need to treat a host of ailments. And they said it and others like it could provide badly needed tax dollars for the city.

The City Council voted to revoke that club’s business license in May 2009, and it appears to have closed. Paper signs affixed to the club’s door said both that the club was closed for renovations and that it was closed for good (if you can’t read the sign in the picture, it says “PURPLE POO POO OUT OF BUSINESS”). The club’s phone number defaults to a voice mailbox that is full, and a Yelp review page for it says it is closed.

The Planning Board was supposed to take up the matter on December 14, but decided to take a field trip out to a medical marijuana dispensary before weighing in. They meet at 7 p.m. today in the council chambers at City Hall, and the meeting will by televised, on good ol’ cable 15.


  • Steve says:

    The solution seems pretty obvious: grant the pot club a business license that will sunset in one year. During that time, we can determine whether, in fact, the club becomes a hub for criminal activity and whether the City is told by State or Federal officials that the club is illegal. Both of these outcomes are measurable and, if they don’t occur, the club will get a normal business license. However, I’m not optimistic that the Planning Board will adopt this approach. After all, the pot club doesn’t entail any mega-development that will enrich a developer. Thus, we’ll be left with another instance where we’ll send people off-Island to make their (taxable) purchases.

  • Bette page says:

    we don't need dispensaries in such a small town. Oakland has a dozen of them right thru the tube.

    The history of dispensaries is pretty clear: They start out towing the line, then get greedy and 'expand' their business to include illegal trade. Webster so does not need this kind of business.

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