After public outcry nixed a plan that would have brought four brick-and-mortar cannabis dispensaries to unincorporated West Marin County, the board of supervisors is now pushing out an ordinance that would render the county’s cannabis business a delivery-only affair.
But the revised ordinance is still not good enough, says Amos Klausner, a San Geronimo resident who opposed the dispensaries and now opposes pot delivery, too, which he says would create crime, traffic and other public-safety issues for the unincorporated parts of the county. Among other issues, Klausner is concerned about cannabis warehouses, which he says would be a magnet for crime in a part of the county with scant law enforcement resources.
“We don’t have a police force out here; we have sheriff who rolls by once a day,” says Klausner, a 45-year-old native New Yorker who has lived in Marin County for two decades.
Klausner uses medical cannabis and says that he gets his product mostly from the Harborside dispensary in Oakland. He hopes and expects that the latest ordinance under consideration will have an ample public hearing.
The main issue for him is that the county seems intent on shunting whatever cannabis businesses do develop in the post–Proposition 64 landscape into West Marin. “San Rafael has a robust police force,” he says, “and we have nothing. If everyone’s got it, then I’m OK with it, but you can’t force it upon a small group of people.”
Many towns in Marin County have passed laws to keep storefront cannabis out of their communities. The notable exception is Fairfax, which again has an operating dispensary, the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, which opened in 1996, was shut down by the feds in 2001 and reopened in June.
The irony of Marin County’s conservatism in the face of the cannabis legalization initiative Proposition 64 is not lost on Klausner. But neither is the associated crime that comes along with big grows, he adds, citing a raft of gruesome and pot-related crimes that have sprung up in Mendocino County in recent years.
Brian Bjork, the founder and owner of Marin Herbals, which delivers medical cannabis throughout the county, counters that “safety is not any more of an issue in delivery than in a storefront.” Bjork would like to have a storefront operation and says the county should allow them.
Bjork, a 35-year-old Marin County native who has been in the medical-cannabis business for a decade, notes the irony of a self-identified “progressive” county that gave rise to the 420 movement and the Grateful Dead, but has emerged as one of the more cannabis-wary counties in the region.