Home > marijuana > NO MORATORIUM: Eureka marijuana dispensary ordinance moves forward

NO MORATORIUM: Eureka marijuana dispensary ordinance moves forward

The Eureka City Council declined to pass a proposed moratorium on its fledgling medical marijuana dispensary ordinance despite a threatening letter from the Department of Justice.

Councilwoman Melinda Ciarabellini couldn’t get a second on a motion to pass the 45-day moratorium, which she said would allow time for amendments to the ordinance to “reduce [the city’s] exposure to the federal government.”

Councilwoman Linda Atkins said “the horse is already out of the barn” as far the feds knowing about the ordinance, and said an emergency moratorium wasn’t necessary to make amendments.  Atkins then made a motion to ask the Planning Commission to establish a maximum cultivation size between 5,000 – 10,000 feet of growing space per dispensary to avoid the undefined “industrial” designation in the DOJ letter. The motion also asks the Planning Commission to explore a ballot measure for a voter-approved tax to cover cost of enforcing the ordinance.

With Councilman Lance Madsen absent, Mayor Frank Jager broke a tie vote by voting with Councilman Mike Newman and Atkins to pass the motion.

Several members of the public spoke against the moratorium.  No one spoke in support of it.


  1. Not an Expert
    October 5, 2011 at 12:23 am

    I find these councilmembers confusing…Jager voted against the moratorium, after that speech he gave a while back about how medical MJ is just an excuse for criminal behavior? Good for him for changing his mind…But then Brady voted for a moratorium, after the plea for Jager to keep an open mind about medical MJ? Maybe I’m misremembering?

  2. Anonymous
    October 5, 2011 at 2:17 am

    Eureka government is highly (;-) disfunctional.

  3. Anonymous
    October 5, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Sidnie would’ve figured out a way to make this work

  4. Decline To State
    October 5, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I’m pretty amazed at this do-nothing-because-it-might-offend-somebody council’s vote as well. The vote seems to fly in the face of what I thought I knew about this cowardly bunch of Arkley toadies.

    Good for them.

  5. Anonymous
    October 5, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Yes, this was a pleasant surprise. Frank and Mike, I hardly knew ye…

    Melinda and Marian: get out! Doing your best to be business-unfriendly here in Eureka. Doesn’t this fly in the face of your Brady Bunch campaign rhetoric?

  6. High Finance
    October 5, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Oh goodie !! The pot heads & losers and other drug addicts will be so happy !

    Next we need to talk about medicinal cocaine and medicinal meth clinics.

  7. Woof Blitzer
    October 5, 2011 at 8:37 am

    On another note about the same council meeting, Costco paid a lot more to the city to settle the same kinds of claims on a much smaller parcel in a less desirable location.

    Another gift from the taxpayers of Eureka to the millionaire Arkley. Another case of Tyson giveing his buddy Arkley this gift. Another pass through scam that will pass the money from Arkley’s left pocket to his right pocket. We know this because of the restrictions placed on the money, the deal is in place. The money will be spent improving the infrastructure around the balloon track and will double the value of Arkley’s land. No doubt the taxpayers will also be asked to kick in also in the form of matching funds. Arkley’s buddies will get the construction contracts and supply the raw materials.

    Don’t people go to jail for shit like this?

  8. Not an Expert
    October 5, 2011 at 8:50 am

    not in Eureka! It’s the way it’s always been done! I can only imagine the Humboldt Bay projects the City will…I mean, Arkley will tell the City to pursue.

  9. October 5, 2011 at 8:54 am

    High Finance,
    You can already get medical cocaine legally, as well as legal amphetamines, as both are schedule 2 not 1.
    Are you really that dumb, or are you just an antipot troll?

    I am shocked by Eureka action, although I would jot put it past the feds to arrest the entire city council, the plan co and others along with a dispensary owner and charge them all with conspiracy and RICO just to make the point that they can.

  10. Anonymous
    October 5, 2011 at 9:34 am

    what a brilliant idea Mark!

  11. High Finance
    October 5, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Mark, are you really so dumb as to compare the fraud of the 215 cards to the stringent rules on real medicines that contain amphetamines or cocaine ?

  12. Anonymous
    October 5, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Yeah Mark, ‘cuz you know how well the war on drugs has uh worked so uh well.

  13. scooter
    October 5, 2011 at 10:57 am

    So, Eureka wants all the dispensaries to grow their own as opposed to purchasing locally grown produce. This is a slap in the face of all local growers, as well as a violation of state law. How about if we all take our dollars somewhere else to spend. Perhaps Ukiah, or Santa Rosa? Apparently Eureka business’s do not need marijuana money.

  14. Anonymous
    October 5, 2011 at 11:16 am

    “So, Eureka wants all the dispensaries to grow their own as opposed to purchasing locally grown produce.”

    Indoors no less! That part stinks. 1000+ watts per 9 sq ft for that which could be practically energy free! And any farce about controlling the environment is really about controlling security.

    We have people that have been doing this for 40 years and have perfected their techniques. Buy it from them, not second rate B grade, Benedict types. If you want to be a dispensary, be one, pharmacists are not running pharmaceutical labs, they are counting pills.

  15. tra
    October 5, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I must say, I’m surprised by this vote. Once the Feds were brought into the game, it appeared to me that “the fix was in” and that the threats from the Feds would be used to stop the ordinance from going forward.

    But it looks like whoever had decided to try to kill the dispensary ordinance by writing that letter to the Feds — knowing full well that the Feds would send a threatening letter in return — hadn’t lined up the full support of the City Council majority.

    So now we have this situation where the City essentially solicited a threat from the Feds, and now the City Council has decided to ignore that threat. I don’t know if this will lead to trouble for them or not, but it certainly seems like an invitation to trouble.

    My question is, who decided to send that letter to the Feds in the first place? And I mean who set that process in motion, not just who signed the letter.

    I wonder if this was an example of the City Manager, or someone under his supervision, trying to do an end-run around the City Council?

  16. caliboy
    October 5, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Same crap, different day tra.

  17. Fact Checker
    October 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Election Hater said:
    October 5, 2011 at 9:42 am

    “Mark, are you really so dumb as to compare the fraud of the 215 cards…”

    That all you got High Hater, Insults and contempt for election results?

  18. Plain Jane
    October 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    From the T-S 9/3/2011: “”I got direction to write a letter to the Northern District Department of Justice attorney regarding the size limit,” Wall said, adding that the direction came from City Manager David Tyson, but may have “come from above” him.”

  19. Anonomon
    October 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    anon 11:16

    The good ole boys in Eureka needed to figure out how to make their money on the legal dispensary angle and that took a few months to work out. In order to guarantee their cut they figured they had to monopolize production.
    It’s called vertical integration just like GE or Haliburton. Don’t take it personal.

  20. tra
    October 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Thanks, P.J.

    Well, there you have it.

  21. Plain Jane
    October 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Buried in the T-S coverage of the council meeting, headlined “Council approves Balloon Tract Settlement; Police Chief Recruitment to be Handled In-House” I read……

    “During the meeting’s public comment period, the council also heard from three people on the topic of a recent federal jury award of more than $4.5 million against the city in a case stemming from the August 2007 in-custody death of 26-year-old Martin Frederick Cotton II, who died of a subdural hematoma just hours after being involved in a violent altercation with Eureka police officers.
    The jury found that officers used excessive force against Cotton and failed to provide him with medical treatment. The case was on the council’s closed session agenda, but no final actions were announced.”

    Anyone know who spoke and what was said?

  22. huufc
    October 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Does anyone else see the drug damaged people stumbling along the sidewalks or begging for money in Eureka? More dope outlets will help? Look at the town,depressing,dirty,closed down store fronts. Eureka is going down faster than Obama.

  23. Down the Road
    October 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    These drug damaged people like to walk down Harris too. Some
    of them are a little crazy. But, don’t worry I was told by the
    Eureka Police Dept. that they weren’t dangerous as long as they
    remembered to take their meds.

    I had suggested to one of the council people quite some time ago,
    that it may be a good idea to recruit the artist in town to paint
    scenes on the empty buildings windows to dress the place up.

    Two other suggestions were: To require all panhandlers go through
    a police check and have a license with a picture I.D. attached to their clothing. This could be done at a very low cost. Also, require all people being fed for free to through a police check and carry I.D.

    I’m all for helping people, if there is a real need. Under the current
    system we are drawing hard core criminals and freeloaders. Time
    to change.

    The MJ dispensaries aren’t going to make things worse.

  24. Anonymous
    October 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    We are very pleased to welcome Evan Mills as the next speaker in the
    fall 2011 Sustainable Futures speaker series. Evan will speak on
    Thursday, October 6 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm in the Behavioral and Social
    Sciences Building room 166 (BSS166) on the HSU campus. The title of
    his talk is “The Carbon Footprint of Indoor Cannabis Production.”

    Dr. Evan Mills is a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
    He has worked as an energy analyst since the early 1980s, specializing
    in ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions via improved energy end-use
    efficiency in buildings. He received a Masters of Science degree from
    the Energy and Resources Group at U.C. Berkeley in 1987 and a Ph.D.
    from the Department of Environmental and Energy Systems Studies at the
    University of Lund in Sweden in 1991. He has over 200 publications in
    his field. He is a member of the international body of scientists
    which has worked over the past two decades under the Intergovernmental
    Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which collectively shared in the Nobel
    Peace Prize for 2007 with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore “for
    their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about
    man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures
    that are needed to counteract such change.”

    Evan’s talk will focus on an increasingly important issue here on the
    North Coast, namely the energy and environmental dimensions of indoor
    cannabis production. The work he will present draws from a recent
    study that he published on the topic, which is available for download
    at http://evan-mills.com/energy-associates/Indoor.html. The talk
    promises to be an interesting one and it is likely to spark a lively

    We hope to see you there.

    Best regards,

    Arne Jacobson
    Schatz Energy Research Center & Environmental Resource Engineering Department

  25. Anonymous
    October 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    We are very pleased to welcome Evan Mills as the next speaker in the
    fall 2011 Sustainable Futures speaker series. Evan will speak on
    Thursday, October 6 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm in the Behavioral and Social
    Sciences Building room 166 (BSS166) on the HSU campus. The title of
    his talk is “The Carbon Footprint of Indoor Cannabis Production.”

  26. October 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    High Finance,
    It is harder to get a 215 than it is to get prescription pain meds.
    Of that there is no doubt. Almost any doctor will prescribe you opiates, while you have to find a special doctor and pay for it outside of insurance to get the 215. Which one seems easy to you?

  27. October 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    It is harder to get a 215 than it is to get prescription pain meds.

    For your entertainment, the Los Angeles Times’ Steve Lopez describes his trip to a medical marijuana doctor for a 215 recommendation:


  28. skippy
    October 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    That was a good and amusing read, Fred; thanks. To note, some might recall the author, Steve Lopez, was also the author and character of the movie and book, “The Soloist.”

  29. tra
    October 5, 2011 at 5:22 pm


    Prescrioptions for opiates are usually reltivly short-term and limited, whereas a Physician’s recommendation for medical cannabis generally lasts a year and is not limited by amount. So I suppose one could say that it’s easier to obtain a physician’s approval for ongoing medical cannabis use than than it is to obtain a physician’s approval for ongoing opiate usage.

    Of course, given the much more serious side-effects and much greater additive power of the opiates, it only makes sense that they should receive more scrutiny than cannabis.

  30. October 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    I agree with you, but there are prescription mills that pump out opiates like candy, on insurance, with a low co pay, for long term chronic pain management.


  31. October 5, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Anyone know who spoke and what was said?

    Verbena went on 3 minute tirade describing the beating and complaining that no local media attended the trial in Oakland. It was hard to understand everything she said because she fails to understand the function of a microphone, which is to amplify the voice. If you rattle your uvula right on the thing the speakers crack and the sound quality deteriorates to the point that words are lost. For someone so desperate to be heard a deep breath and a retraction of three inches from the mic would better accomplish that goal.

    I didn’t catch the names of the two other speakers. One gentleman said Eureka must “stop the killing” while another echoed earlier sentiments.

  32. Anonymous
    October 5, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Verbena is the nut job Kim Starr

  33. October 5, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    If you growers in So Hum set up some kind of grower to patient collective that is legal and can deliver to Eureka, sign me up.

    HPRC in Arcata and Hummingbird have done fine by me but we need better access in Eureka. I think there are a lot of us in Eureka who would like to buy direct from SoHum.

    have a peaceful day,

  34. MarinaCentaur
    October 5, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Now these industrial grow dispensaries are a big box ideaI can get behind. There is an anchor tenant for the Marina Center that no one could argue with, eh?

  35. Anonymous
    October 6, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Tonight Arcata City Council discussed the increasingly bellicose Federal threats aimed at city elected officials and staff who participate in permitting medical marijuana dispensaries and grows.

    In the end, a majority of three council members approved a motion saying that the city staff should continue the processing of applications for dispensaries and associated grow spaces, but also stating that the city council would take no final action on issuing the actual permits until at least the next city council meeting, where they are supposed to get an update on some very recent state-level legal rulings, as well as some additional legal advice about the Federal threats.

    The vote was 3-2, with Ornelas, Winkler and Stillman voting for the motion, and Brinton and Wheetley voting against (because they did not agree with the decision to suspend the issueance of permits).

    So I guess we’ll see what happens in a couple of weeks, whether they will decide to proceed with issuing permits for any applicants who have successfully completed the process, or whether they will vote for another temporary delay, or whether they will perhaps make some kind of changes to the actual ordinance in order to try to reduce the chances of the city and it’s staff and elected officials being targeted by the U.S. attorney’s office.

  36. owltotem
    October 6, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Mr. Jacobson, THANK YOU!!! The link is Golden!!! Reporting the truth about energy used (and other GHG sources) in indoor growing has been a difficult truth to speak in Humboldt County. I appreciate the in-depth research and comprehensive report. I completed a study myself and sent it to the members of the Eureka City Council involved with developing the Eureka Dispensary Ordinance. It was quickly disregarded and never even mentioned. If I did not have tickets to a performance tonight I would attend the lecture. Is there some way to be notified in advance of Energy related lectures?
    Thanks again, Owl

  37. skippy
    October 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    This just in through Associated Press:

    “SAN FRANCISCO– Federal prosecutors have launched a crackdown on pot dispensaries in California, warning the stores that they must shut down in 45 days or face criminal charges and confiscation of their property even if they are operating legally under the state’s 15-year-old medical marijuana law…”
    Looks like the Feds mean business and could be coming to town?


  38. Anonymous
    October 6, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    skippy memorandum says 200kg or 1,000 plants sold annually are targets. This is $2 million or a few thou gross revs.

  39. skippy
    October 6, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Thank you, Anonymous. You are correct.

    California Watch reported:

    “The memorandum sets thresholds that make investigations more likely to be prosecuted. Those include distributors caught with at least 200 kilograms of marijuana, including distribution near schools, playgrounds and colleges; cultivators with gardens of at least 1,000 plants that are not on federal land and at least 500 plants on federal or tribal land or where there is significant damage; and dispensaries that sell more than 200 kilograms or 1,000 plants annually.

    To note, 200 kilograms is just under 441 pounds.

  40. Shane Brinton
    October 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Anon 12:02 – You mixed up Winkler and Wheetley. It was Winkler that voted with me against suspending permit approval.

  41. Anonymous
    March 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Santa Ana medical marijuana initiative gains traction



    SANTA ANA – Voters could decide whether medical-marijuana dispensaries can operate in the city in a November 2014 ballot initiative, pending a California Supreme Court decision expected in late spring or early summer.

    The City Council voted 5-0, with council members Vincent Sarmiento and Sal Tinajero absent, at its Monday meeting to approve placing an initiative on the November 2014 ballot to allow medical-marijuana dispensaries to operate in Santa Ana.

    Voters could decide whether medical-marijuana dispensaries can operate in Santa Ana in a November election.

    The proposed Medical Cannabis Restriction and Limitation Initiative seeks to remove Santa Ana’s ban on medical-marijuana dispensaries, collectives and cooperatives in place of a registration process, zoning restrictions and a business tax requirement.

    However, supporters and opponents must first wait for the California Supreme Court decision on the City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient’s Health and Wellness Center Inc., which would affect a city’s ability to implement bans on medical-marijuana clinics.

    Once the state Supreme Court makes its decision, the council will hold a study session to discuss other alternatives, such as crafting a competing initiative.

    Mayor Miguel Pulido proposed that the council monitor the results of the case, while Councilman David Benavides asked city staff if the council could come back to the issue at a later time to explore alternatives such as a competing initiative.

    Councilwoman Michele Martinez recommended the council hold a study session on the issue.

  42. March 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Down the Road
    October 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm | #23

    “Two other suggestions were: To require all panhandlers go through
    a police check and have a license with a picture I.D. attached to their clothing. This could be done at a very low cost. Also, require all people being fed for free to through a police check and carry I.D.
    cards. ” I wish you were joking, but I’ll just call you a wanna be fascist instead. Probably not even an insult to someone who thinks like you…..

    And Heraldo – why do you describe Verbena as going on a “tirade” and the other speakers as “a gentleman” and another (gentleman?) who merely “echoed earlier sentiments”? Need I remind you this woman is doing serious human rights work – successfully defending herself against the corrupt EPD twice, so far – and will be in court this Monday as well. If you (royal you here) don’t care for her tone – imagine what state you might be in after a few years of dedicating yourself to this apparently thankless cause. Shame on you – bad journalism and very disappointing politically.

    I will drive the 60 miles to be in that courtroom to show support for she who is fighting for all of us – and you huuf-ks who don’t understand that, can just get huuf-ked. That includes all of you (you KNOW who you are) huufc is just too easy a name to pervert.

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