Friday, May 1, 2009

Grass valley Top Cop wants to ban Pot.

Rising crime statistics surrounding metropolitan medical marijuana dispensaries have prompted Grass Valley police Chief John Foster to ask for an emergency moratorium on pot shop operations in town.

No one is currently trying to open a dispensary, but we want to be proactive and not run into problems that have occurred throughout the state," Foster said Monday. "The problem now is that the city has no regulations in place."

The city's top law officer will ask for an ordinance at 7 p.m. today at the Grass Valley City Council meeting at City Hall, 125 E. Main St.

I've heard of people wanting to open dispensaries here but I've told them to be very careful," said Nevada County District Attorney Cliff Newell. California Attorney General Jerry Brown has sent out guidelines for medical marijuana dispensaries, and "It's awfully restrictive," Newell said. "It has to be an absolute nonprofit."

Last week, Foster was at a California Police Chiefs Association meeting on medical marijuana and was given statistics from the San Francisco and Los Angeles police that showed crime increased around dispensaries there.

Los Angeles neighborhoods saw a 200 percent rise in robberies and a more than 50 percent hike in burglaries and assaults after dispensaries opened there.

Both major cites have tied several homicides or attempted murders to the shops where marijuana is sold legally under Proposition 215 -- the medical pot law passed in 1996 -- according to the statistics Foster supplied The Union.

Nevada County has no known medical pot dispensaries, according to James Henry, who opened one in Colfax five years ago.

The Golden State Patient Care Collective sells medical marijuana to those with legitimate recommenations for anywhere from zero to $400 per one-eighth ounce, Henry said. Patients are screened and get nowhere near the product unless they have a legitimate doctor's prescription, Henry said.

The dispensary owner said he has no problems with Colfax area police, and no violent incidents have occured since he opened, Henry said.

I don't want gangsters peddling pot in town anywhere, either," Henry said. "I think we do a good job here, and the patients are grateful. We help them eat and sleep."

Calls to the Placer County Sheriff's Department for comment about Henry's business were not returned.

Nevada County has had voluntary medical marijuana identification available this year because of state mandates, said Jeff Brown, director of Health and Human Services.

The two ( people ) who have registered feel the card gives them a feeling of security in case they get stopped when transporting it," Brown said. "It's not the county's intent to make it mandatory."

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