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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Letter To The Tattler: Kriselle Caparas

With Emeryville's Public Safety Committee ready to rule on recommending the city council allow a medical marijuana dispensary in town, Emeryville resident Kriselle Caparas weighs in.  Ms Caparas is a business partner of Sarah Hines, the dispensary applicant.  The committee will consider this item at their regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday at 9 am in the newly remodeled police station on Powell Street across from the Watergate condos. 
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This is an interesting time for our city of Emeryville.  Indeed an interesting time for our whole country.  Every state, county and city is seeing its public services slashed in an attempt to balance the budget. It is in these times we must look to ourselves to find a way to make a difference and solve some of these problems at a local level.
As an Emeryville resident, homeowner and mother I wanted to find a way that I could help my own community.  This lead me to take a real look at the money being made in the medical marijuana industry. Why were dispensaries popping up everywhere and why were cities not taking better advantage of the money being generated?  This is why I became involved in The Health Exchange (THE) Co-op. I saw it as a way to generate real money for our community and its residents.
The reality is medical marijuana has been around for over 15 years and it isn’t going anywhere.  Millions of dollars are being made yet no one is truly benefiting from this but a handful of dispensary owners and in some cases the members who receive free alternative health services.  Dispensaries by definition must be non-profit entities but the truth is they make millions for their owners.
In our model all of the profits go directly to the community and are distributed within the community by THE Board, an independent governing body comprised of Emeryville residents, City Council members, School Board members and doctors.
It is in these times we must think ‘outside the box’.  We must work on a grass roots level, so to speak, to help ourselves and our own communities. 


  1. Emeryville does need medical outlet. This will do so much for our community. It could even pay for the shortcomings of the financially defunct Community Center of Life. We could even invite them to set up shop there, I'm sure no one will mind, they're good people. By the way, why is it that if all the profits made from this enterprise will be given back to the community, why can't you just give the medicine to the people who need it for free?

  2. With the recent California Supreme Court decision in Pack v. City of Long Beach, this is an extremely bad time to be approving a dispensary. The decision limits the ability of cities to regulate dispensaries, except for a ban on dispensaries. The Court ruled that some provisions of Long Beach's ordinance, such as permit and renewal fees and a lottery system for permits, were not permissible. The Court remanded the case to the trial court to determine whether other regulations, such as a minimum distance to school, limitation on hours of operation and prohibition of minors from being on the dispensary property were permissible.

    Until these legal matters are sorted out, it remains unclear what the City's ability to regulate dispensaries is. The City of Albany recently repealed their medical marijuana ordinance and implemented a ban in order to protect the City while this line of litigation was sorted out. Emeryville likewise should wait until these uncertainties are sorted or we risk [an] unregulated or loosely regulated dispensary/ies.

    1. That's a good concern to raise. I wonder what the proponents of this project would say about that case. We should attend the Safety Commission meeting tomorrow to hear their response.

      If we want to balance our budget it makes sense to think outside the box. At the same time, we want smart people at the table to ensure that we don't color outside any lines that serve to protect us.

  3. The city council thinks it's an extremely bad time to allow a medical marijuana dispensary to open. It'll be a better time sometime in the future...let's wait, shall we, for the right time to allow a medical marijuana dispensary. Let's wait for the legal matters to be sorted out, right? The council will allow it when it's the right time, now please go away.

    Oh and regarding Mr King, if he would only wait for white people to get comfortable with civil rights for everyone, it would be oh so much better. He just needs to wait for the legal matters to be sorted out. Now is not a good time, in fact it's an extremely bad time.