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Thread: Medical marijuana - staff permitting objection

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    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    Medical marijuana - staff permitting objection

    I was wondering if anyone knows of a situation where in instances that a municipality has adopted permitting of medical marijuana facilities after appropriate state and local regulations, that a staff member of that municipality has stated that they will object to working on their typical duties of regulating and permitting uses when specific to medical marijuana?

    This isn't necessarily due to a personal objection towards the use of marijuana for medical purposes, but perhaps out of concern that their actions in directly/indirectly permitting MM facilities would be an action that is contrary to federal law?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    There is no law prohibiting the issuance of permits in support of marijuana dispensaries - that's a local land use decision. The conflict with federal law comes from the actual sales of marijuana, not the permitting of the dispensaries. No one would be subject to a criminal investigation for fulfilling their government-mandated obligation to process permits in conformance with state law and local ordinances.

    If someone is refusing to process these, then that someone needs to find a new job (or perhaps they just need reassurance from the City attorney that they're indemnified?).
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tarf View post
    No one would be subject to a criminal investigation for fulfilling their government-mandated obligation to process permits in conformance with state law and local ordinances.

    If someone is refusing to process these, then that someone needs to find a new job (or perhaps they just need reassurance from the City attorney that they're indemnified?).
    I agree, and we must keep in mind the crazed, irrational objection those in federal power still have to MJ.

    Hundreds of $Bns - if not in the $trillions - of sunk costs and military ops in foreign countries can't be ignored, as well as the pressure we see from the feds on banks with MM customers.

    So I don't blame the person for a healthy, mild dose of paranoia, wondering if they will be wiretapped or blacklisted. The news and actions from DC don't discourage such thoughts. Anyone who knows the history of this fight knows what I'm talking about.

    But I agree the solution might be a word from City Attorney.

    [/rant]

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    The medicine that is found in marijuana is now provided in pill form:

    http://www.justice.gov/dea/ongoing/marinol.html

    There is no reason to allow "smoking" joints based on the use of medical marijuana.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Streck View post
    The medicine that is found in marijuana is now provided in pill form:

    http://www.justice.gov/dea/ongoing/marinol.html

    There is no reason to allow "smoking" joints based on the use of medical marijuana.

    Are you a doctor?

    Thought so. I tend to trust doctors. Including the unanimous opinion of the California Medical Association.

    http://gma.yahoo.com/california-medi...222131038.html
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  6. #6
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tarf View post
    There is no law prohibiting the issuance of permits in support of marijuana dispensaries - that's a local land use decision. The conflict with federal law comes from the actual sales of marijuana, not the permitting of the dispensaries. No one would be subject to a criminal investigation for fulfilling their government-mandated obligation to process permits in conformance with state law and local ordinances.
    If the federal government chose to take action on medical marijuana usage with a contention that it violates federal law, I don't know how you can be so sure that a municipality's granting approval of the operation of a dispensary and/or grow facility doesn't *potentially* leave the municipality under some potential liability in granting such a land use approval, and then along those lines, the individual staff working under the codes and provisions that granted the approval.

    Conversation with legal staff here believes that the risk is extremely small, almost using an "everybody else is doing it" rationale, and that if the federal government were to take action, it would be against the municipalities themselves, not the individuals themselves working.

    That said, City of Boulder apparently passed a resolution through their council, indemnifying their city staff from any liability in performing their duties relating to medical marijuana. I think that's the sort of action that would make city staff in other jurisdictions feel more comfortable about administering their medical marijuana related codes.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian estromberg's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Streck View post
    The medicine that is found in marijuana is now provided in pill form:

    http://www.justice.gov/dea/ongoing/marinol.html

    There is no reason to allow "smoking" joints based on the use of medical marijuana.
    There is no reason for marijuana to be illegal for consenting adults. Medical or recreational.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    Tarf asked:

    Are you a doctor?
    The question is about zoning for places to smoke marijuana. You do not have to be a doctor to make that decision. I was pointing out that you do not have to "smoke" marijuana to get medical benefits from it. Even doctors say it is the smoking process that is bad for you.

    The article I referenced also confirmed that it is the smoke that is harmful.

    If it is truely a medical treatment you can get the same chemical by pill. You do not have to smoke it.

    Zoning would not prohibit smoking as a medical treatment under a doctor's care in a medical facility.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Streck View post
    The question is about zoning for places to smoke marijuana. You do not have to be a doctor to make that decision. I was pointing out that you do not have to "smoke" marijuana to get medical benefits from it. Even doctors say it is the smoking process that is bad for you.

    The article I referenced also confirmed that it is the smoke that is harmful.

    If it is truely a medical treatment you can get the same chemical by pill. You do not have to smoke it.

    Zoning would not prohibit smoking as a medical treatment under a doctor's care in a medical facility.
    I agree smoking anything is horrible for your lungs and heart. I support Streck's arguement 100%. Any doctor that does not know this is a doctor I sure don't want treating me. Its simple common sense. I am sure the CMA is some fly by night organization made up mostly of weed-heads and a couple of crack pot PhDs.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by Tarf View post
    If someone is refusing to process these, then that someone needs to find a new job (or perhaps they just need reassurance from the City attorney that they're indemnified?).
    A person refusing to process these types of applications is likley overreacting, but I wonder if that person would have a legal case against the city if there was retaliatory actions.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post

    That said, City of Boulder apparently passed a resolution through their council, indemnifying their city staff from any liability in performing their duties relating to medical marijuana. I think that's the sort of action that would make city staff in other jurisdictions feel more comfortable about administering their medical marijuana related codes.
    Must send an e-mail.

    And there is plenty of anecdotal info that Marinol isn't the same as the leaf.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    And there is plenty of anecdotal info that Marinol isn't the same as the leaf.
    I have asked numerous physicians this. All have told me that smoking itself is a harmful way to get the medicine. There is a processed medicine that gives you the same effect and that instead of signing Med Mar, they give prescriptions for marinol when it is neccessary. The only docs that write smoking prescriptions are doing it as a money mill at $100 a pop.

    In Michigan the laws are quite grey on locating these businesses. The law enacted for medical mar did not adress this fully and is subject to interpretation by police at all levels (local, state, feds). Here a wise planner would tread lightly and ask a lot of questions from supervisors.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  13. #13
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    I have asked numerous physicians this. All have told me that smoking itself is a harmful way to get the medicine. There is a processed medicine that gives you the same effect and that instead of signing Med Mar, they give prescriptions for marinol when it is neccessary. The only docs that write smoking prescriptions are doing it as a money mill at $100 a pop.
    And I did two undergrad term papers (albeit years ago now) on the larger subject of MJ Prohibition and at the time the colored statement was not true. I agree that Marinol is safer if you can keep it down - and if you are terminal who cares?

    And I also agree there are an awful lot of prescriptions and when I went back to CA last year was very surprised at sheer number of "patients" and the size of the industry.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    Here's also a link to an article where a City of Boulder councilwoman had at least the same concern about whether their City employees could at least theoretically be at risk of federal prosecution just by doing their normal course of work pertaining to land use review of MMDs.

    Daily Camera article

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    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    I have asked numerous physicians this. All have told me that smoking itself is a harmful way to get the medicine. There is a processed medicine that gives you the same effect and that instead of signing Med Mar, they give prescriptions for marinol when it is neccessary. The only docs that write smoking prescriptions are doing it as a money mill at $100 a pop.

    Marinol is NOT the same. Marinol is synthetic THC, and does not give the same results as the actual plant does. Marinol has been around for years, yet has not been as successful at treating the symptoms that marijuana is known for treating (e.g., chemotherapy side effects). If it were, organizations like the California Medical Association wouldn't be advocating for its legality. (and despite what some other posters might suggest, the CMA is not a bunch of "dope smoking hippies" - rather, they're actual medical doctors who practice medicine for a living).

    Furthermore, it's worth noting that the federal government has, since the 1970s, been growing and supplying a small group of individuals with medical marijuana. Interesting, huh? The very drug they claim has no medical uses they've been supplying as medicine to a small handful of individuals for over three decades now. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compass...w_Drug_program

    As to the whole smoking thing... that's not the only way that medical marijuana users consume it. It also comes in food, and there are some who suggest that "vaporizers" avoid many of the problems with smoking it. While I do admit, smoking it is not ideal for one's health, to be fair, when you're dying of pancreatic cancer you're probably not much worried about the effects smoking it might have on your lungs. (By the way, I don't think chemotherapy itself is a very good thing for the body, either...)

    Regardless, I still assert that a government employee acting in good faith and in conformance with state law has no risk whatsoever of criminal prosecution based on federal laws prohibiting the sales of marijuana (since, again, those federal laws do not prohibit the permitting of any specified land uses, such as dispensaries).

    /endrant
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    Here's also a link to an article where a City of Boulder councilwoman had at least the same concern about whether their City employees could at least theoretically be at risk of federal prosecution just by doing their normal course of work pertaining to land use review of MMDs.
    Thanks for the linky. As I'm sure you know, the feds forced banks in Colo to stop taking deposits of MMJ businesses, effectively cutting them off at their knees - much like the Wikileaks strategy. Not farfetched for an employee to be worried for their privacy or career.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    Yep. Well aware. We're having an election in November that may ban the facilities. I personally have no issue with the usage of marijuana, but from the land use/regulatory standpoint of potential liability, it's tempting to want to see these go away.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    Yep. Well aware. We're having an election in November that may ban the facilities. I personally have no issue with the usage of marijuana, but from the land use/regulatory standpoint of potential liability, it's tempting to want to see these go away.

    Aren't they also trying to legalize it (outright) statewide in that same election?

    More to your point though - I am curious how this issue would be treated by the courts, from a purely regulatory/land use perspective. Specifically, would these be considered the same as adult bookstores (meaning they can't be excluded outright through zoning)? Doesn't seem to fit, since there isn't a 1st Amendment issue with dispensaries... I am curious how the courts would handle it, because it almost seems like it could go either way - either the courts finding that total exclusion through zoning is illegal/unconstitutional for some reason, or they could find that there are no constitutional issues at play, meaning they could be excluded outright by zoning. Slightly off-topic I suppose, though we did address the original question I think
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  19. #19
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    I've heard that there is an effort to try to have it legalized outright through a statewide initiative. If that were to be proposed it's not this election coming up. The election I'm speaking of is local. If passed it wouldn't attempt to ban a license holder from growing their own, just the dispensaries and cultivation facilities.

    I'm not anywhere as actively involved in understanding the MM stuff regarding land use/zoning as our zoning administrator. I don't know though of any municipality that excluded MM facilities through zoning. I suspect it's similar to ours in that everyone has "that zone" (ours is Industrial) where all "that stuff" (SOBs, sexually oriented businesses, etc.) can go so that there's no claims of exclusionary zoning. It would be funny though if "that zone" only appeared as a tiny dot on the zoning map.

    It's an interesting phenomenon though seeing how since the statewide approval of medical marijuana a few years ago which made it seem like our state's attitude towards criminalizing marijuana was lessening, many if not most local jurisdictions who have had brought local measures to ban the facilities seem to have passed. Statewide we seem to be flexible as long as it's only in Boulder or Denver. NIMUGA, not in my urban growth area.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    It's an interesting phenomenon though seeing how since the statewide approval of medical marijuana a few years ago which made it seem like our state's attitude towards criminalizing marijuana was lessening, many if not most local jurisdictions who have had brought local measures to ban the facilities seem to have passed. Statewide we seem to be flexible as long as it's only in Boulder or Denver. NIMUGA, not in my urban growth area.
    Aside but related, several newspaper articles on the Front Range have detailed how the only thing keeping some warehouses open during the worst of the Great Recession were grow ops. I suspect there is some technology transfer going on as well to the growing number of hydroponic vegetable ops you hear about.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

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    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    Folks in Washington and Colorado, have you hugged your Zoning Administrator lately?

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