Although they voiced support for medical marijuana patients, Goleta’s City Council voted 5-0 in support of an ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits. Citing the need to examine the option of allowing and regulating dispensaries in more detail, the council imposed upon itself an August 30 deadline. “Part of the argument against [regulation] is that it’s in conflict with federal law,” said Councilmember Michael Bennett, who found issue with a document produced by Goleta city staff indicating that medical marijuana dispensaries attract crime. “If we were to prohibit businesses that attract crime, we could go on a rampage,” he said, pointing to stores selling liquor and firearms as more of a risk. Several medical marijuana patients showed up at the hearing to offer comment, with one man-who said he was suffering from a painful digestive tract ailment known as Crohn’s disease-getting on his knees before the council. The proprietors of Grassroots Research, including Mark Russell (left), a medical marijuana collective operated from a private residence in Goleta, were less than happy with the ban. “We’ve addressed the city to relocate to a zoned commercial area several times, but they sent us a letter that said they can’t give us permits to relocate,” said Seamus Ethridge, one of the collective’s caregivers, who said he was surprised by the support given by all of the councilmembers.
Grassroots Research founder Mark Russell speaks with the media outside Goleta City Hall