California, Gilroy

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California, Gilroy

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:38 pm

KLIV 1590 wrote:Gilroy taking hands-off approach to new medical marijuana dispensary

KLIV 1590 | 17 Jun 2009


GILROY -- Gilroy city council members plan to stay out of the debate over a new medical marijuana dispensary in their city.

They say they plan to allow city staff to examine MediLeaf's proposal, and will only intervene if nearby businesses complain about the dispensary.

In comments to reporters, council members said medical marijuana dispensaries are legal businesses, and should not have to undergo a more rigorous approval process than any other pharmacy.

If it's approved, MediLeaf will become the first storefront medical marijuana dispensary in the South County.

There are currently storefront dispensaries in Redwood City and Santa Cruz.
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Gilroy police reject medical marijuana dispensary

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:27 pm

KLIV 1590 wrote:Gilroy police reject medical marijuana dispensary

KLIV 1590 | 19 Jun 2009

GILROY -- Police in Gilroy are rejecting a new storefront medical marijuana dispensary, saying it violates state law.

Gilroy's police chief argues that state law requires marijuana dispensaries to act like nonprofit cooperatives, not businesses.

She argues that because the dispensary would turn a profit, it's illegal under state law.

The dispensary's organizers are vowing to fight the decision, saying they're following the model set by similar dispensaries in Santa Cruz and Redwood City.
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A man on a mission

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:03 pm

The Gilroy Dispatch wrote:A man on a mission

The Gilroy Dispatch | Nov 5, 2009 | By Jonathan Partridge


Local residents have characterized Ron Kirkish as everything from a "saint" to an "unhinged bizarre individual." Either way, there's no denying he's become a force in local politics.

A little more than a year ago, Kirkish was an unemployed engineer looking for ways to spend his time. These days, he is helping out a state assembly campaign for Gilroy Unified School District trustee Francisco Dominguez, advocating for the owners of Pinocchio's Pizza amidst problems allegedly caused by Sobrato Transitional Apartments residents, and getting regional attention for his opposition to medical marijuana.

It all started when City Councilwoman Cat Tucker suggested he get involved locally to keep his sanity. So, he started attending City Council meetings and began speaking out about various city issues. First it was the condition of the city's sidewalks. Then, it was about binding arbitration, "best of the best" pay for city staff and marijuana dispensaries.

He has become so notorious that Tucker jokingly sent an e-mail to him recently that said that Kirkish's name was more well-known than hers.

"I've been loving this so much I wish I could get paid for it," Kirkish said this week with a Cheshire cat-style grin.

Kirkish, 62, has spent most of the past 25 years living in Gilroy, but his adventure in activism really got rolling within the past 1.5 years.

Tucker's son used to play sports with Kirkish's son, so the two families had known each other for some time, she said. When Kirkish mentioned at a Gilroy High School football game that he had been laid off, she urged him to get more involved in civic matters.

Little did she know how deeply involved he would become.

"I just encouraged him to keep your hands busy," she said, noting that it often can take laid-off professionals a long time to find employment. "Little by little, he got the bug."

While Kirkish has taken on many City Hall issues in the past, he has become most well known during the past six months for his stance against marijuana dispensaries after a dispensary applied for a business application this past spring.

After doing research, Kirkish decided marijuana dispensaries are a ruse for recreational use and he is afraid that it would lead to more drugs in the hands of children. At first, Kirkish was the lone resident speaking out against the dispensary. But gradually he met with city officials, police, churches, business owners, and members of community organizations. Soon enough, there was a huge outcry at council meetings from local residents.

"He got all the people together, gathered all the people, and introduced everyone to everyone," said Tucker, who initially stood on the opposite side of the issue from Kirkish.

His anti-dispensary stance has garnered him regional attention recently as he spoke Wednesday against medical marijuana dispensaries in San Jose. He is slated to speak at a roundtable on medical marijuana at San Jose State University next week.

Kirkish was also selected to be an activist by the Rancho Cucamonga-based Coalition for a Drug Free California last month.

"Ron's a superstar," said Paul Chabot, founder of the 6-month-old advocacy group that links 58 other antidrug coalitions in California.

The local activist may be relatively new to Gilroy's political scene, but he has a long history of public service. He served in Turkey in the Air Force from 1966 to 1970, copying down morse code messages from the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and the Soviet Union in Germany.

"All these things taken into perspective helped me to realize what a special place (the United States) is," he said. "It's not perfect, but it's pretty close."

Kirkish describes himself as a political moderate, and says he is a "Harry S. Truman kind of guy." He spent time studying the late president's life and the Civil War while living and working in Missouri - Truman's home state - in 2007.

"The man spoke the truth, and he didn't hide from the truth," Kirkish said. "If it smelled like crap, he would stay away from it."

He has taken that attitude to heart as a local activist.

"I'm not saying that I'm a bull in a china shop, but in certain instances I believe that politically correct behavior has encouraged bad things," Kirkish said.

Certainly, his rhetoric can be pointed at times, particularly in his comments on the Dispatch Web site. Kirkish has blasted Mark Zappa, who has sought to recall Mayor Al Pinheiro for allegedly ignoring public safety issues.

"Lies, Lies, Lies......this guy is just like Sen. Joseph McCarthy of the 1950's........he will not let the truth get in his way," Kirkish wrote.

Zappa said he has only spoken to Kirkish once on the phone regarding binding arbitration, and he has no intention of meeting him in person.

"He at best is an unhinged bizarre individual," Zappa said.

Another political opponent of Kirkish, marijuana dispensary advocate Marc Perkel, had kinder words. In fact, he said he believes Kirkish is right about most issues.

"There are some people who I disagree with who I think are just plain crazy, like the guy who wants to impeach the mayor," Perkel said. "Ron, he's a thinking guy. I can understand where he's coming from. He's into it honestly. He's not doing it just to hear himself talk."

Pinheiro said he has found Kirkish to be willing to engage in dialogue even when they disagree. Pinheiro said they first met after the mayor contacted Kirkish over some comments that contained misinformation. Now, Kirkish feels free to call Pinheiro whenever Kirkish has an issue to discuss.

"I think that today, he definitely has a different respect for what I do, and an understanding of the difficult challenges that I have as mayor," Pinheiro said.

Tony Oliveri, owner of Pinocchio's Pizza 2, went so far as to call Kirkish a saint. He said that Kirkish first contacted him over the marijuana dispensary issue, and he has continued to take an interest in the pizzeria, which has had problems with nearby criminal activities that the owners believe are connected to the Sobrato Transitional Apartments complex.

Kirkish said he has no interest in a political career, and when it comes to political consulting, he's "not a proven quantity."

Still, he says he hopes to stay involved in local affairs when he finally obtains employment. In the meantime, he will continue to speak up for the issues that he believes are important in his hometown.

"I'm hoping that I'm making things better for the City of Gilroy," Kirkish said.

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Columnist's NIMBYbess and numbskull marijuana logic

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:10 pm

The Gilroy Dispatch wrote:Columnist's NIMBYbess and numbskull marijuana logic

The Gilroy Dispatch | Nov 9, 2009 | By Lisa Pampuch


<i>"Often, the less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it."
~ Mark Twain</i>


Twain's wisdom came to mind as I read a recent article by new Dispatch columnist John Larson (another new club member; welcome!) about medical marijuana dispensaries.

Near as I can tell, Larson supports in theory patient access to medical marijuana, but opposes in practice "putting (a medical marijuana dispensary) in Gilroy.

"That's a perfect example of a NIMBY (not in my back yard) position. A Time magazine article on ethics called NIMBYism "a perverse form of antisocial activism."

Certainly Gilroy should ensure that medical marijuana dispensaries - which are legal in California - are appropriately located, just as planners do for pharmacies and hardware stores, for example. Dispensaries should be treated like any other business seeking to locate in Gilroy.

Larson uses pretzel-twisted logic to try to justify his NIMBY position by claiming that legalizing medical marijuana usage is part of a larger battle to legalize recreational marijuana usage, something he apparently opposes. He claims that dispensaries have "ill effects" on "family values and safety" and that they lead to an increase in crime.

He describes how ridiculously easy it is to get marijuana (since his childhood!) and then tries to scare readers into opposing dispensaries by claiming they'll make it easy to get marijuana. Huh? I call foul.

Larson provides zero evidence for these assertions, but that doesn't prevent his lame attempt to support a conclusion that's illogical and cruel to suffering patients. He does, however, provide examples of red herring, appeal to fear, and slippery slope logical fallacies. I assume those fallacies help squelch the cognitive dissonance that must come from acknowledging the suffering of "someone with terminal cancer who finds relief from their pain or nausea by smoking a doobie" while opposing the only way, given our current ridiculous federal laws, for that patient to safely and legally obtain the medicine that brings much-needed relief.

Many people - like me - support legalizing medical marijuana because we understand that the federal government completely misclassifies marijuana, causing people to needlessly suffer. The federal Controlled Substances Act lists marijuana on Schedule I, the most restricted category that is supposed to include only substances with high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use, and no standards for safe use under medical supervision. This is simply not true about marijuana, as I've detailed in previous columns.

It's fine to debate legalizing recreational use, but it's completely separate from the debate about medical marijuana. Another thing: Larson's use of a street name for a medical marijuana cigarette, and giving his fictional medical marijuana dispensaries monikers that incorporate other street names ("Weed-Mart," Ganja Emporium" and "Pot-pourri") might be cute, but the names are irrelevant, and using them is illogical and unfair. Worse, they're examples of the ad hominem and appeal to ridicule logical fallacies.

Does Larson call pharmacies "Lude Lounges" because they sell prescription quaaludes that some people use recreationally? Maybe he prefers "Hillbilly Heroin Huts" because some people abuse prescription OxyContin? Does he call hardware and paint stores "Huff Depots" because they sell products that contain inhalants? Does he oppose the presence of these stores in Gilroy?

The use of logical fallacies is usually a sign that the fallacy-employer knows that his position is weak and is thus reduced to trying to distract his audience and hoping that they don't notice his argument's flaws.

Something else about Larson's column confused me: He believes it's relevant to emphasize that he has never smoked marijuana. I fail to grasp the relevance, but I'll share too: I have never smoked, seen, touched or been offered marijuana. I wouldn't even recognize the odor, I lived such a sheltered youth. However, I'll also share a relevant personal fact: My daughter endured two-and-half years of chemotherapy to treat cancer. She suffered from nausea, but, thankfully, it was short-lived and manageable.

However, had her doctors recommended medical marijuana, here's what Larson and his ilk would require me do: In their pollyanna-ish, "Weed-Mart"-free utopia, I would have had to locate one of the scores of unlicensed, unregulated street marijuana dispensaries (you know, drug dealers) sprinkled throughout South County to purchase marijuana of unknown quality and strength, in the process likely supporting other far worse illegal activities, while risking arrest, prosecution and incarceration when my young daughter desperately needed me.

Why? Because they don't want legal, regulated medical marijuana dispensaries in this community. Put that cruel reality in your NIMBY pipe and smoke it.

Lisa Pampuch is a technical editor and a member of the newspaper's editorial board. She lives in Morgan Hill with her husband and two children. Reach her at lisapampuch@iname.com.
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