The most recent edition of the Alameda Magazine has a story about the Medical Marijuana joint (no pun intended) that surreptitiously opened on Webster Street a while back. To recap, the Pot Club, Purple Elephant opened without anyone in the City actually understanding that they would be dispensing weed. Last November the City decided to place an emergency moratoriumon any pot clubs coming to the City until they could sort out who to regulate these types of businesses.
The hearing tonight at the City Council is an appeal by the owner of Purple Elephant to appeal the revocation of their business license. While I’m not that happy about a pot club open and operating in my hood — yeah I’m a little NIMBY that way — I do understand that it is a necessity for some people and I’m sympathetic to the argument that it’s safer for those vulnerable folks to have a safe and clean place to get their, um, medication. However, from all accounts there appears to be quite an abuse of the system. From the Alameda Magazine article:
On a day that might have been slow at most businesses, Dec. 30, 2008, a Monday during a holiday work week, lunchtime was busy at the Purple Elephant. There was a steady crowd on the block between Haight and Lincoln.
In the first 30 minutes I sat there, six guys in their 20s—one every five minutes—arrived at the Purple Elephant and were allowed in. During that time, the only other customer was a woman who looked like she was in her 30s.
They all left within five to 10 minutes of arriving, each clutching a brown paper lunch bag.
Only one guy was turned away. The guy, probably in his 30s and wearing a black sweat suit with red trim, stormed out of the Purple Elephant entrance. “Dude, I’m at the f*** club. Where are you?” he screamed into his phone. For the next 30 minutes he walked up and down outside the dispensary, yelling and cursing into his phone.
Finally, a security guard came outside and told him to stay away. He disappeared.
The first time I visited, I stood behind a girl, maybe 18, with long, straight blond hair and lots of black eyeliner. She wore a white T-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes. She looked like any high school student on the Island. She smiled at me as she handed her medical marijuana ID card over to the security guard. He let her go up the stairs.
Although I have to say that the young girl probably wasn’t 18ish, as a digression aren’t kids looking younger and younger these days? I swear all the kids who I see marching up to the College of Alameda look like babies. Babies I tell you!
So anyway, I’m a little bothered by the city staff using the argument that the sale of pot is illegal under federal law. While it is, it isn’t under California law which was voted on by Californians. So, yeah….awkward. Staff, of course, is recommending that the appeal be denied.