June 2011 home page

  Altered States
Art Olson | Avenida Primavera


Transaction.  Del Mar Fruit.  Photo Art Olson.


Patrick Kennedy is on a mission. His medical marijuana dispensary at 1105 Camino Del Mar remains open, in spite of the fact that the City Council declined to hear his appeal of the denial of his application for a Del Mar business license and in the face of $2000/day fines for which he is now subject. Kennedy’s dispensary is a small shop with frosted windows outside, and no indication of the nature of the business it houses. One enters into a vestibule waiting room with a check-in counter for verification of both medical certificate and co-op membership. Once validated the member is allowed to enter the dispensary area and is greeted by a well organized glass case displaying a number of vials containing different strains of marijuana. Also displayed are a wide variety of edibles ranging from tootsie roll-like candies to bagel bits, all containing medicinal marijuana.

Kennedy, a builder whose construction business has slowed to a crawl, established the marijuana cooperative inspired by his own experience. Standard treatment with prescription anti-depressants caused Kennedy undesireable side-effects, whose resolution required a yet another prescription medication. He found that substituting marijuana for the anti-depressants alleviated his clinical symptoms without causing the unwanted side-effects.

A long search for a place to establish his operation led him to Del Mar, where he finally found a landlord willing to rent him space. His initial application for a business license described his business as “Alternative Medicine, Medical Marihuana.” The Del Mar finance director denied his application, based on the municipal code, since this business type was not listed as one of the allowed uses within the Central Commercial district. After the City Council upheld the denial, Kennedy has re-applied for a business license describing his operation as a “pharmacy,” which is an allowed use. At this writing that application is pending, awaiting the decision of the finance director. Since there are no licensed pharmacists currently working at the collective, the city could deem the classification as invalid and again deny the application. A different allowed use in the municipal code is “smoke shop”. Whether that designation would satisfy the City is an open question. Mayor Don Mosier stated that modifying the municipal code would be one way to allow Kennedy’s operation.

During the course of this interview Kennedy was interrupted twice, both times by well dressed women in their late twenties, selecting their desired medical marihuana variety, hybrids of the two major strains: sativa for an energetic and uplifting impact or indica for a more calming, relaxed effect. At roughly $300 for an ounce, they carefully selected smallish quantities for purchase.

Kennedy insists that Del Mar cannot outright ban the sale of medical marijuana in the city, and cites other cities where attempting such a ban has not worked. He says that he has not yet paid any fines for operating without a license, and that he believes that the state law resulting from the passage of Prop 214 in 1998 trumps existing City ordinance. He appears confident that the marijuana advocacy group NORML would support him in any legal action over the matter.

Display Case.  Photo Art Olson.



Display Case.  Photo Art Olson



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