By Alfa · Feb 7, 2004 ·
  1. Alfa

    Medical Marijuana Sold in Roseville Store

    The small lobby of Capitol Compassionate Care was packed Monday afternoon.
    At least 10 people crowded in to purchase medicinal marijuana at
    Roseville's newest business.

    Open for a little over a week, storeowner Richard Marino said business was
    slow at first, but is booming now. By 4 p.m. on Monday he had run out of
    several kinds of marijuana.

    "People are just so grateful to have a safe place to come and get their
    medicinal marijuana, instead of getting it off the streets," said Marino,
    who lives in Rancho Cordova and also uses the marijuana for medical
    purposes. "I've had nothing but positive comments."

    A former electrician, Marino opened the modest store Jan. 22 at 327 North
    Lincoln St. in historic Roseville.

    With the voters' passage of Proposition 215 in 1996, patients and
    caregivers in California may possess, use and grow the plant with a
    prescription or recommendation from their doctors.

    But Richard Meyer, special agent and Public Information Officer for the
    U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in San Francisco, said Prop. 215 is in
    direct opposition to federal law.

    "Anytime there is a conflict between a state law and a federal law, the
    federal law takes precedence, according to the supremacy clause in the U.S.
    Constitution," Meyer said. "Proposition 215 is in direct conflict with the
    federal Controlled Substances Act. This is a case where a substance became
    medical by popular vote, with no approval from the FDA, who has not found
    it to be a safe and effective drug."

    Meyer said the Food and Drug Administration conducted a study in 2001 and
    found marijuana to have no acceptable medical use and a high potential for

    He also stated the American Medical Association, which has no affiliation
    with the FDA, does not endorse the use of medicinal marijuana and has said
    it is dangerous.

    "If I was the owner, I would close down," Meyer said. He would not comment
    on the administration's immediate or long-term plans for handling the
    Roseville store.

    Marino is naturally concerned with Meyer's comments suggesting he is in
    violation of federal law.

    "I have three children, and am about to become a grandfather," Marino said.
    "Of course I worry someone will walk in here one day and shut me down. But
    somebody had to do this, somewhere. Somebody had to take that chance."

    Inside the lobby, customers exchanged stories with one another and shared
    where they were typically going for their "goods." One man wore a neck
    brace; another sat in a wheelchair. But a younger woman in trendy attire
    also came in to exchange the kind of pot she got.

    "I paid for the Acapulco Gold, but the bag you gave me says Placer Gold on
    it," she complained to the male employee behind the bullet-proof glass window.

    By then the store had run out of the Placer Gold, so the employee returned
    the difference in cost between the two strains, approximately $20.

    One customer, a native of Roseville who declined to give his name, said a
    special doctor gave him a prescription for medicinal marijuana because the
    Vicodin he had been taking for his back injury in 1999 is bad for his liver.

    "I usually have to go to Oakland to get it (marijuana), so this is great,
    to have it right here in Roseville," the man said.

    Outside the store, another man who also refused to give his name said he
    has had diabetes for years and a degenerative nerve disorder that often
    comes with it. He grows his own marijuana plant and puts it in butter
    rather than smoking it or ingesting it another way.

    "I think it's good, and I hope the police leave him alone," he said. "But
    I'm also hoping people don't take advantage of this and run amuck with it."

    According to Marino, his store is the only distributor of medicinal
    marijuana in the Sacramento Valley. He said there are about 50 in
    California north of Santa Cruz, most of which have sprung up in the last
    several years in the Bay Area.

    Marino said he didn't have a particular city where he preferred to open his
    shop. He looked for a location in both Placer and Yolo counties and finally
    found a place that would rent to him in Roseville.

    "I talked to about 20 building owners who initially agreed to rent to me,
    and then ended up changing their minds," Marino said. "They said it would
    create too much traffic, their insurance company would not cover them or
    their lawyers advised against it."

    He added that his own insurance company actually dropped him when he
    decided to open up shop.

    William Boyer, Public Information Officer for the City of Roseville, said
    city officials would not comment on Marino's store, and said only that it
    is a state issue.

    Marino said he complied with all of the city requirements for getting a
    permit. He met with representatives from the Roseville Police Department,
    who sent his letter requesting a permit for a medicinal marijuana store to
    the District Attorney's office.

    The district attorney took three weeks to respond, but eventually gave its
    approval to the city, provided Marino obtain a resale number from the
    state. Marino complied and received his permit to open a business from the

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