Ramona Medical Marijuana Clinic Bid Called ‘Square Peg in a Round Hole’

Ramona Community Planning Group hears Mother Earth co-op request for Walnut Street site.

Advocates of medical marijuana are seeking a clinic on Walnut Street in Ramona, but are meeting with polite but firm local resistance.

Despite expressing admiration for “what you’re trying to do,” Ramona Community Planning Group Chair Jim Piva told proponents that their operation is like “a square peg in a round hole” here.

“I don’t think Ramona’s the right place for it,” he said at Thursday’s meeting at the Community Center.

Piva addressed representatives of Mother Earth Alternative Healing Co-operative, which is trying to find a new location for its clinic.

Mother Earth was the only licensed medical marijuana clinic in San Diego County until it was evicted from leased space in an El Cajon building in September. According to KPBS, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy ordered the clinic to close and threatened to take possession of the building and everything in it if the sale of marijuana didn’t stop.

Medical marijuana is legal in California, but federal law does not permit it.

Lance Rogers, Mother Earth’s attorney, spoke to the local planning group Thursday night, emphasizing the co-op’s unique position of being the only county licensed facility, despite being “homeless.”

“This is a heavily regulated facility by the Sheriff’s Department,” Rogers said, noting that their license was renewed by the Sheriff’s Department in July 2012.

Inspections by the Sheriff’s Department were held every five weeks at Mother Earth’s El Cajon location, with an “open door” policy and good inspection reports.

Janet Matula, a member of the co-op, told Patch that the Ramona site being sought—at 1339 Walnut St.—is the only other location in the county, aside from their previous El Cajon location, that meets zoning requirements.

Some zoning requirements for medical marijuana collective facilities include:

  • Facility may not be within 1,000 feet of a residential parcel
  • Facility may not be within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, park, church, recreation center or youth center
  • Facility may not be within 1,000 feet of another medical marijuana facility

See attached PDF for a full list of county ordinances regarding medical marijuana facilities.

But planning group member Matt Deskovick said zoning shouldn’t matter.

“Just because it’s zoned doesn’t make it available to you,” Deskovick said. “The sheriff’s [officials] I’ve talked to have told me they’re not happy about the marijuana in California.”

Ramona’s sheriff’s Lt. James Bovet was at the meeting to give his two cents on the proposed facility, saying that there was no crime increase around Mother Earth’s El Cajon location, but that the one homicide Ramona saw last year took place across the street from the proposed Walnut Street location.

Bovet also said that marijuana was involved with the homicide situation.

Alex Sedach, who lives near the proposed Ramona location, publicly spoke against the medical marijuana facility.

“This is my neighborhood,” he said. “Just because something’s zoned for it, doesn’t make it right. …

We’ve got enough crime already here in Ramona.”

But Matula and Paul Nager, both members of the co-op, said Mother Earth isn’t about crime or recreational use. The called it a service to 70,000 patients suffering from various ailments, including cancer.

“The average age of our customers [is] 45 and older,” Matula said. “Your recreational user doesn’t feel comfortable in a place with police. They just don’t.”

Nager emphasized that Mother Earth’s intentions are to comply with the state law to provide patients with much-needed comfort.

“It made us comfortable we were complying with all state laws,” Nager said, mentioning support from county Supervisor Dianne Jacob and Rep. Duncan Hunter.

Customer Judy Bailey Savage told the board that the medical marijuana facility is essential for people like her.

“This is for people who are really sick,” Bailey Savage said. “It’s clean... It’s not a pot shot.”

But cancer survivor Sedach said he never needed a “Class I narcotic” to help ease his pain.

“I’m a cancer survivor and never needed pot to feel good,” Sedach said.

Planning group member Torry Brean said he’s not completely opposed to the idea of medical marijuana facilities.

“I’m in favor of anything that takes drugs off the street,” Brean said.

But other members, like Jim Cooper and Carl Hickman, questioned marijuana’s ability to be of medical assistance.

“Let’s face it, it’s a money-making service,” Hickman said. “I don’t think it’s a good thing. I don’t think it’s a positive thing.”

Member Paul Stykel agreed.

“If it’s classified as medicine, why don’t hospitals have it?” Stykel asked.

Rogers told the board that doctors cannot prescribe cannabis to patients, just recommend it.

Board members and public speakers said that the proposed Walnut Street location is within 1,000 feet of residential homes, implying that Mother Earth may not even legally be able to use the proposed building.

“The county has done all the planning for us,” Roger said. “The point is this is to be an access point for those who need it.”

Piva asked Rogers what any of the downsides would be to having such a facility in Ramona, specifically that area.

Rogers said traffic may rise, security may become a problem and the clinic would change the character on the building.

“I don’t think it will change the character of the community,” Rogers said. “It will be an asset—a beacon of hope for those that need it.”

No action was required on the item, but the board suggested Mother Earth confirm with the county that the 1339 Walnut St. location meets all county ordinances for medical marijuana facilities and possibly come back to the planning group with a new location.

robert January 15, 2013 at 04:00 PM
and last i checked the mayor just called for a stop to the attack on marijuana dispenceries. i know it probely doesnt affect county relations but should be a sign more politicians are seeing what marijuana facilities are really for. and i say let them make money off it. if you go to walgreens you pay a 300%mark up on tylanol or any prescription you get. and its all profit for the walgreens store. everyone needs to make a living and the companys like mother earth have employees, licensed phsycians they have to pay. marijuana is a safer alternative to liver/kidney killing narcotics. if anyone spent five minute researching it they would see it does have med value for every american not just the aids/cancer sufferers. its a natural plant that will work for about any condition as a relaxer and reliever. get over yourselves ramona and anny up to the new vicodin . thc.
robert January 15, 2013 at 04:03 PM
your worried about mmj users. really. you know there has been many deaths on hwy 67 and not one i can remember had anything to do with marijuana. but i know drunk driving has been the cause of about 50%. so if your really worried about driving maybe you should start a designated driver program for ramona. cause there are more people driving under the influence of alcohol in ramona than there are pot heads driving all of san diego.
robert January 15, 2013 at 04:07 PM
well you know the federal goverment is always right. dont you lollolololololololol this obamanation is so blind to the truth. follow anyone of obamas promises and tell me he didnt lie. no new taxes on the middle class. but wouldnt sign a bill that included the 2%payroll cut which directly affects every house hold in america that has a working adult there. open your eyes and accept a failure when you see one .
ken January 15, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Why don't the caregivers just deliver it instead of setting up shop, the what the state law allows, not storefronts. Storefronts make it look like profit is the motive not compassion.
Ron Selkovitch January 15, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Has anyone estimated how many visitors will be attracted to Ramona because of a Marijuana facility. All our other attempts have not been exactly successful, and this may be the innovative solution. We can become “Ramona, the compassionate town” while at the same time filling our restaurants with hungry visitors
Michael January 15, 2013 at 06:57 PM
To Robert: Pot shops increase crime; of course the pot shop lobby will try to say it doesn’t. Let’s look at the City of San Diego. During the proliferation of illegal pot shops in the City of San Diego the city experienced a doubling of violent and property crimes in census tracts that had pot shops, according to an analysis done by the Center for Community Research that was presented to the San Diego City Council in 2011. The crime statistics the Center for Community Research used came directly from the San Diego Police Department. Because pot shops are illegal, they can’t use credit cards or have bank accounts. Thus, they deal solely in cash. A shop with large amounts of drugs and cash is a target for criminal activity, that is no a brainer. Pot shops are big business, they have a well funded and organized lobby that will say anything to appease rightly concerned residents and businesses that their operations are harmless. They are not; ask any business owner who has experienced a pot shop as a neighbor. The pot shop attorneys are wasting our time, if they were to open up in Ramona, federal law enforcement will shut them down just like they did in El Cajon.
sandra j January 15, 2013 at 07:08 PM
attempts at what have not been successful? estimating visitors or attracting hungry people? from the article: "The [sic] called it a service to 70,000 patients suffering from various ailments, including cancer." that seems like quite a large number to me.
robert January 15, 2013 at 07:28 PM
You say the mmj lobby will make up anything but there are more reports other than the san diego stats that show lower crime rates. The anti mmj lobby much like your beloved president will use public perception and twist the truth to avoid an obviously wrong move. The goverment and there entities will lie and extend the truth on anything your problem as with many people that dont follow the topics is that you think the goverment is always right and they havnt been right or truthful since obama took office. Not that bush was transparent but obama openly and blatently lies to the american people along with the lobbyist that voted for him
robert January 15, 2013 at 07:32 PM
And to sandra j there is over 1.3 million people in the city of san diego alone. So taking into co sideration that ramona is semi central to many cities the estimate of 70 000 isnt that high when you consider the amount of people that live in san diego county
robert January 15, 2013 at 07:36 PM
You k now why the sdpd and the other mentioned entities deny a reduction in crime is cause they consider mmj disp to be crime not legal businesses so it makes there stats higher
Sully January 15, 2013 at 07:59 PM
Ramona doesn’t need the Mother Earth pot shop. On June 18, 2012 the Journal Watch Psychiatry reported that 74% of teens in two Colorado substance treatment programs admitted to using pot that came from pot shops. 18 year-olds, many still high school seniors, with their pot card/recommendation they got online skyping with a “doctor” for $30 is such a scam. Or going to pot-doc who advertises in alternative magazines, for a “quick pot recommendation” is concerning. Besides these pot-docs, the only people who benefit from this scam is the out-of-town pot shop operators and their attorneys. Like Big Tobacco, pot shops target and assist these kids with pot cards to sell to friends, and at this young age, pot use does permanent damage. A few months ago a study called Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife found “Long-term marijuana use, especially when started during adolescence, has been found to decrease IQ, while also impairing cognitive function.” Pot shops are a failing social experience, and not helping our kids. Ramona doesn’t need this public safety and health threat.
LaDawn Jung January 15, 2013 at 11:08 PM
Let this proposal go to Colorado where the people want it. Ramona does not "need" this so called "clean" pot in our community. If there is a need, this individual can move elsewhere to where it would be available. There is enough challenges to overcome without adding another challenge. Thanks to the Ramona Planning Group on helping our community and not breaking it down.
lularose January 15, 2013 at 11:55 PM
Actually, I don't drink and drive. I see it all around me though. Thanks for your "concern".
lularose January 15, 2013 at 11:58 PM
HAHAH!! Good one Ron! Hungry visitors with the munchies!! HAHA!
greg Chick January 16, 2013 at 06:23 AM
I wish Ramona's cared as much about schools and a skate park as they do Pot! (as an issue). Why don't I start a thread about religion and really get people talking so they can ignore real issues like education and skate park...
Ron Selkovitch January 16, 2013 at 08:17 PM
It's pity that we are not concentrating on the needs of sick people who are helped by Marijuana If there loopholes then we should fix them, but not at the expense of cancer sufferers..
Guy Falkes January 16, 2013 at 10:07 PM
Wouldn't it be great to live in a country free from psychopathic puritan traitors. Who else but a psychopath and a traitor would wage war on fellow citizens over a medicinal plant. Its way past time to start the trials and executions.
LaDawn Jung January 16, 2013 at 11:54 PM
And again, why do we need this headache? It is not even here yet and there are issues already. There are enough issues in Ramona without bring the baggage up with this one. Let the individual go to where there is opportunity for them. I am sure with all the clinics that are going up everywhere, that there will be a way to serve the individual that can ONLY be taken care of by marijuana.
LaDawn Jung January 18, 2013 at 03:41 PM
please bear in mind this is a choice of treatment. We make choices in our lives that we prefer a store that is not close for purchases and decide to take the trip to go to that store for that one particular item. Choices sometimes mislead us into thinking it is a necessity. This is not a necessity to be in Ramona. People are pushing the idea for other reasons and creating a deception of the need. Unfortunately, this is not what it is about. The choice of that individual for this treatment needs to be sought at distance if it is truley what they chose. This type of encouragement to our people in Ramona definately is not the answer to our issues in Ramona.
Robert Neulreich January 22, 2013 at 03:05 PM
This is the type of criminal activity you can expect when these stores open. http://www.10news.com/news/medical-marijuana-drivers-robbed-at-gunpoint-in-imperial-beach-012213
robert January 22, 2013 at 03:30 PM
on the contrary this is exactly why we need facilities and not driving around waiting for this to happen. every ordinance allowing dispenceries has alos reguired they have security guards. the delivery services do not require nor have guards. this wouldnt have happened if there were dispenceries this person could have gone to. get his meds safley. this is exactly what the activist were worried about. its time to put these back in brick and mortor buildings and giving them security for the patient and provider alike.beside this happened in imperial beach ramonianas would never do this right. you guys are such a perfect litttle town with tweakers and heroin addicts.
robert January 22, 2013 at 03:36 PM
these issues only arise cause of simple one track minded individuals like yourself. if people like you didnt make a fuss and let what happens happenthen this place could open and either prove you wrong which im betting on or right. but by putting this fight up on sepculations is just retarded. its just like people who say mmj makes access for chideren easier. lol the kids do it anyways. look at alcohol. they cant get it as easy cause there is a regulated market. marijuana is still on the black market. many kids are still getting bunk mexican laced weed from there high school dealers. and they would if mmj was around or not. its a supply and demand thing since the supply is good there dealers are gonna find away to get a hold of it. but states without mmj still have just as many kids and adults smoking pot. its never gonna stop and the war on drugs will never win. its time to take a better approach to responsible use.not prohibition
robert January 22, 2013 at 03:44 PM
this is a choice many people are making in your backyard everyday. many people in ramona are mmj patients and there others are most likely growing fields. soof course they dont want legal weed cause how are they going to gt rid of theres lol. sorry ramona isnt and wont be a pretty town. you guys are blind to the truth about ramona. but there are more than five people in ramona soo you five must be the only ones who care lol.
robert January 22, 2013 at 03:50 PM
of course they got from pot shops. its cool for a kid to say yeah i got medical weed. so even if they didnt get it cause they cant buy it from the disp themselve probely got it from a blackmarket dealer who told them it was med so he could charge more. but even when the pot shops werent around just as many kids were smoking pot and will continue even without the shops. do you really think shutting down shops stops anyone from smoking. well then we better shut down all the crack and heroin shops. oh wait there arnt any and yet many people use those drugs including many kids in ramona. wanna get kids off drugs. then cut access. how to cut access. put on the private market and regulate so to shut out the black market much like alcohol. thats the only way to win a war.
Robert Neulreich January 23, 2013 at 12:56 AM
First your assumption that only Romanians would use the site is laughable. Dead heads from around the region will invade the area and clog our streets. I am all for promoting a small town feel and tourism that I love with Ramona. However, places like these turn small towns like ours into mini Berklys. We have an old charm here in Ramona that should be promoted and respected. We want visitors to come and shop in our stores, but please leave the pot heads and drug dealers down in the big cities. The idea that pot heads will go and get a "Perscription" refill at a store scares me. I lost a sister to drunk drivers I don't want to loose my son or someone I care about to a dead head driver.
Robert Neulreich January 23, 2013 at 12:59 AM
"Marinol differs from the crude plant marijuana because it consists of one pure, well-studied, FDA-approved pharmaceutical in stable known dosages. Marijuana is an unstable mixture of over 400 chemicals including many toxic psychoactive chemicals which are largely unstudied and appear in uncontrolled strengths." -- California Narcotics Officers Association Official policy statement "The Use of Marijuana as a Medicine" Oct. 31, 2005
robert January 23, 2013 at 01:41 AM
i never said it was only ramona residents who would use the facility. but you are assuming every person going there are irresponsable idiot kids and that is not true. like it says iin the article. many young kids abusing the system dont like mother earth because it is so legit. it has less lethal armed guards,metal detectors, a full lab for testing of product, and is open for the sherriffs to check in at any time. they are not like the ones that used to be on ec blvd but your assumption is alos that these people are going there to smoke. that also is not the case they are purchasing product. its not like a liquor store or a bar (which are very common in ramona)no one is allowed to consume on site or premises. they are not your common dispenserie. i am sorry for your loss to an idiot. i am not a drinker but i dont hate alcohol.
robert January 23, 2013 at 01:41 AM
but there are manymore drinkers making dumb decisions than pot smokers. kids are kids and pot is everywhere its time to regulate it kids say pot is easier to get because it is everywhere. if they legalized it for 21 and up it would focus there attention on the kids and illegal product. instead of people using a plant responsibly.theres alot to be gained from legalizing the cultivation and science of marijuana and hemp derivitives. nothing to loose by it because its not like once legal the amount of people smoking pot will rise beyond normal. if there gonna smoke they already do. its time to open the thought process a little and accept the reality of it. stop using exagerated gov't propoganda
robert January 23, 2013 at 05:08 AM
everything you say as far as gov't findings can be countered with private studies. the only reason the gov't doesnt accept its medicinal value is because it wont accept any test done by private parties. not even the likes of ucsd and harvard graduates. the goverment is turning a blind eye and using there propoganda to make you believe it. people who use the plant for whatever purpose weather rec or medically dont buy into the gov't only the non users who have followed the say no to drug life then drink there hearts out believe the hype. open up and actually talk to some of these people before you judge them and i dont mean the 18 yr old kids but the older patients who final choice was marijuana cause the doc couldnt help or was killing them with heavy narc pain killers they will show a reason to change your mind.
LaDawn Jung January 23, 2013 at 05:38 AM
Reasons why this cannot be available in Ramona. http://www.drugfreeworld.org/real-life-stories/marijuana.html Would you like me to start posting all the damaging life stories of lives including children that have been affected by this horribly? Too many negatives and our community does not need the ADDED issues. The benefits are minimal compared to the damage that can happen to the people and lives we love. I haven't seen the clinic come up with a plan to handle the destroyed lives and dedicate themselves to the people that have had a horrible life because of this drug. They need to have counselors and provide programs to reverse the damage to others lives. I don't see any help with this clinic to be present at all. Just the negatives. The lives that have been impacted negatively are many. The availability cannot be here.


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