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Santa Cruz Indymedia

LOCAL Announcement :: Civil & Human Rights

Mayor Rotkin In Phone Interview on Medical Marijuana Sunday

Santa Cruz Mayor Mike Rotkin has agreed to call in at 11 AM Sunday November 6th to Free Radio Santa Cruz's Bathrobespierre's Broadsides show(101.1 FM) to answer questions about the Office of Compassionate Use.
The entire Sunday show begins at 9:30 AM and runs to 1 PM.

Past shows are now archived in up-to-date audio files at

To call in and ask questions of Rotkin or make comments, phone 831-427-3772 on air. Questions can also be raised off-air at 423-4833 in the days before the show. Or go to the chat room at (press "chat" and fill in a chatname for yourself).

Past threads discussing this issue on include:

"Make Three Calls To Help Stop Drug Prohibition" at

"City Bureaucrats Shut Down Only Medical Marijuana Club Under Rotkin's Law" at

"Medical Marijuana Provider and In-Home Caregiver on Trial in Santa Cruz" at

"May 2 - Rally For Roger Mentch at County Courthouse" at

"HUFF 'n PUFF is back: Help a sidewalk medical marijuana distribution May 13th" at

"Why I'm Fighting Federal Drug Laws From City Hall" at

"Good Times Story Ignores Local Political Scandal" at

"Time For Real City Council/Supervisor Action Not Political Posturing"

"Real Local Action Needed Here"


To his credit, Rotkin has recently
(a) written a letter defending Roger Mentch, convicted of selling marijuana from his medical marijuana facility in Felton--The Hemporium; and
(b) expedited a permit for the Greenway Club at 140 Dubois St. in Harvey West Park.

However his Office of Compassionate Use law seems to have nothing to do with compassion, use, or any expansion of medical marijuana in Santa Cruz city or county.

The Office of Compassionate Use law, passed in a first reading Tuesday July 25thm supposedly "creates" such a city supported commission and office for the distribution of medical marijuana to those who need it.

In fact, Rotkin admitted in a phone call to me today, the office is unlikely open for several years because it requires approval by a FEDERAL court. That is also the explicit wording of the last sentence of the ordinance, which essentially nullifies it pending FEDERAL approval.

Some will remember that the US Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in June that even private possession of medical marijuana in states that have approved medical marijuana laws is illegal under federal law. Is this likely to change soon?

Rotkin says the law will serve to facilitate a court challenge using the 10th ("states rights") Amendment in a legal suit by the ACLU and WAMM.

But in terms of providing any meaningful access to medical marijuana, it does NOTHING. It doesn't rein in police busts for marijuana (including felony busts of youths downtown for selling tiny amounts). It doesn't stop SCPD seizures of medical marijuana from homeless people.

In fact NO Office of Compassionate Use is actually contemplated as a physical reality--this is simply a legal strategy to assist a lawsuit.

It is the kind of hypoocritical public posturing that City Council did in the fall of 2002 when it oversaw the givewaway of small amounts of medical marijuana by WAMM to a handful of patients, while other careproviders were ostracized and banned from the area. Media hype. All while those seeking medical marijuana were forced to seek the black market or make a trek up to the Bay Area.


In the fall of 2003, Rotkin committed himself to reforming our LOCAL zoning law, which effectively prevented any clubs from opening for five years. The fact that one club Greenway, has been able, after a year of extended effort, to persuade a landlord and the city to let it open as an EXCEPTION to the zoning rule, does not alter the fact that the current law effectively shuts down clubs.

The Planning Department quickly shut down the successful and beneficial Pacific Coast Cooperative---which opened this spring across from the Metro Transit Center on Pacific Avenue. Rotkin publicly supported this closing.

Why hasn't he acted to reform a law cooked up behind closed doors in collusion with WAMM (but no other marijuana providers)? Why has WAMM been allowed to operate freely but other attempted clubs been essentially uprooted before they could open?

In May, Valerie Corral of WAMM, to her credit, wrote a letter to Rotkin suggesting that the 2000 law be changed. In June she promised on the air the letter would be posted on her WAMM website. It has yet to appear. Nor has she pushed the issue again, to my knowledge.

Why hasn't Rotkin kept his promise in the fall of 2003 to move on this issue? Why haven't the Corrals, with high-profile media presence and prestige, spoken up about the Rotkin City Council's failure to act on this issue and urged it to move?

Also to be discussed: the local movement to get a measure on the ballot such as Oakland's Measure Z, which moves to "tax and regulate" all marijuana use, removing the divisive distinction of "medical" versus "non-medical"--such as was passed by the voters in Oakland. Rotkin could back such a measure and have it on the ballot by a 4-3 vote at City Council. Better still, he could pass the measure by a majority vote at Council.

to support immediate passage of a similar Measure Z type law;
and/or to support an immediate change in the zoning laws allow clubs to actually open in business corridors;
and/or to simply remove the sentence stating the (currently)imaginery Office of Compassionate Use will only open after Drug War judges give their approval.

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Rotkin Interview Link

fMP 3 file can be downloaded at--

--fast forward to the middle of the file.


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