ROSEVILLE SHOP OFFERS AN OUTLET FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA
The 10-square-foot room of a business carries a mellow aroma of marijuana.
Its walls are bare except for several fliers listing the addresses of
doctors who recommend marijuana for medical use.
Then there is the menu taking up the largest chunk of wall: Placer Gold,
$200 per ounce, Acapulco Gold, $275 an ounce. The list goes on. Capitol
Compassionate Care, a Roseville medical-marijuana dispensary, is legal -
State law, specifically Proposition 215, allows medical marijuana, saying
that a patient can use whatever amount of marijuana his primary-care
physician provides. However, the store is violating federal law for
cultivating and possessing any amount of marijuana for any reason.
In Nevada County, authorities allow no more than 10 plants, yielding up to
no more than two pounds of marijuana, to be grown by one person with a
This is one of the reasons a store like Capitol Compassionate Care may be
appealing to local residents: They do not have to grow their own medical
marijuana and face the possibility of getting in trouble with the law. The
store also provides information on proper marijuana use, and patrons have
the chance to talk to others in the same situations as themselves.
But the store itself might not be safe, as the federal government has shut
down others like it, the most recent one in Citrus Heights last year.
Local medical-marijuana activist Martin Webb said there are positives and
negatives to dispensaries. But over the long run, he said, the Roseville
store will not affect Nevada County residents who use medical marijuana.
"It will provide short-term relief for people who have problems growing
their own," Webb said. "It is an emergency place for people to go to."
He said he does not think many county residents will patronize the store,
which opened Jan. 22, because it will become a liability if it is targeted
by the federal government.
"These places can be a focus for law enforcement," Webb said.
Growing marijuana for personal use is better than buying from a dispensary,
"The majority can stay in the community to have their medical meets met," he
Store owner Richard Marino said he sees 25 to 50 customers each day, coming
not just from Roseville, but from afar, as well. He said there have been
customers from Stockton, Placerville, Yuba City, Lodi and Nevada County.
Marino deals the marijuana out of a secure room through a bullet-proof glass
window. He requires a current and original doctor's recommendation and a
California driver's license.
He grows some of the marijuana at his home and buys the rest.
"Some of (the varieties) will make you sleepy," he said. "Some are a variety
for eating. Some (people) want relaxation from and for pain."
He said while there is a chance the store might be shut down or be robbed,
he said he rarely thinks about it. There are about 50 dispensaries in the
Bay Area that the government has not closed down, he said.
He said his business' area - downtown Roseville - is much safer than
dispensaries in the Bay Area.
Safety is important to Michael Schreiber of Nevada City, who used to drive
to Oakland to buy marijuana from a dispensary. He said he was afraid he
would either be robbed or be arrested by authorities monitoring the store.
"I feared for my life there," he said.
Schreiber, 44, was arrested in October 2003 for growing 30 marijuana plants
and keeping vacuum-sealed bags of marijuana at his home.
He said he had so much pot because he was stocking up for the winter and
because he was prescribed more than what was allowed by local authorities.
Schreiber, who did not disclose his exact medical conditions, said he
prefers to use his own home-grown marijuana to ensure its quality.
"I feel safe knowing what I have grown myself," Schreiber said. "You don't
know what is in it, like pesticides. I know mine's clean."
While Schreiber acknowledged the risks of growing marijuana - being robbed
by drug abusers, having it eaten by rodents, or getting arrested, among a
few - he said it is still better than buying from dispensaries for one
"I can't afford the amount that I need," he said, adding his prescription is
for two ounces every week.
"Can you imagine that type of bill?"
Schreiber said he would consider the Roseville store, however, because he
currently does not have enough for his prescription and because he would be
able to get medical marijuana information and talk to others who are going
through the same hardships as him.
"But it is still expensive," he said.