Editor’s note: The Town Crier continues to solicit opinions, pro and con, on legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries in Idyllwild.

Last week’s article “Marijuana dispensaries closed down” elicited reader response with some supporting and others opposing medical-marijuana dispensaries in Idyllwild.

One reader and user of medical marijuana, Marcia Harlan, spoke to the Town Crier about severe medical conditions that were alleviated by use of medical marijuana following a crash diet that mandated gall-bladder surgery. Harlan explained the surgery traumatized her body, removed any appetite for food and left her in chronic pain.

“I’m a retired state employee and have never been arrested, and this was the only thing that gave me an appetite and alleviated my pain.” She described how marijuana soothes the mind and physiology, and takes one’s attention off the pain. Relief of chronic pain is one of the medical conditions for which medical marijuana use is authorized by the Compassionate Use Act. Her gastroenterologist, cardiologist and psychologist all recommended medical marijuana use for Harlan.

One reader, Amy Hawley, thought the Town Crier’s article stated an inaccurate assumption as to the way the community feels about medical-marijuana dispensaries in Idyllwild. “I find both your assumption that the town wants these businesses out [is] unfounded and the way you’re sensationalizing something [is] so unnecessary, “she said. “Why assume that people of this town are either potheads or looking to get rid of the pot-heads?

“I’m guessing [Supervisor Chuck] Washington only had one appointment on his upcoming docket because most people truly do not care. If you are giving out phone numbers for people to anonymously voice their concern, wouldn’t it be right to give people an outlet to voice their support? When the time comes, I absolutely hope we have a recreational marijuana shop in Idyllwild. It’s worked for Colorado’s economy, why not beef ours up too?”

In an opposing point of view, three board officers of the Pine Cove Property Owners Association, Marlene Pierce, Gisela Stearns and Sherry Edwards, filed formal online complaints on Saturday, August 5, with Riverside County Code Enforcement Officer Marr Christian regarding the medical marijuana dispensaries in Idyllwild. All three PCPOA members also are members of the Mountain Community Patrol that works under the aegis of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. The three scheduled appointments and met with Washington at his Thursday, August 10, meeting. Forest Lumber owners Mr. and Mrs. Dennis DeJarnette were also present and stated views in opposition to the local dispensaries.

Local businessman Chris Johnston logged in about the apparent inequitable nature of how Code Enforcement operates. He questioned how these two, possibly three, medical marijuana dispensaries were able to open and get completely operational in a couple of days when it took him 51 weeks and $13,000 in fees to get through county planning to open his business, Middle Ridge Winery Tasting Gallery.

Under California law, medical marijuana dispensaries are legal in governmental entities that opt to legalize them. Legal medical marijuana dispensaries can be found off the Hill in the Hemet/Temecula area and in some desert incorporated municipalities. But they are not legal at this time in the unincorporated areas of Riverside County, including Idyllwild, nor is their operation “licensed” by the county.

The issue at present is not framed as to whether there is a need for medical marijuana. It is legal under 1996’s Proposition 215, the CUA, under specific guidelines.

Currently at issue in Riverside County’s unincorporated areas is where it can be legally obtained, aside from growing one’s own legally defined supply as specified in the act.

The CUA permits non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries under strict state requirements regarding their operation. But it does not preempt city or county ordinances to regulate or prohibit them.

The CUA protected patients and defined caregivers from criminal laws when use is recommended by a physician.

Under 215, one can use medical marijuana legally if so recommended by a licensed physician for treatment of a serious medical condition. The law defines “serious medical condition” as AIDS, anorexia, arthritis, wasting syndrome, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraine, persistent muscle spasms, seizures, severe nausea and “any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that either substantially limits one’s ability to conduct major life activities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act or, if not alleviated, may cause serious harms to the patient’s safety or physical or mental health.”

A medical marijuana card is not needed to qualify for use under the CUA, but if possessed, will prevent arrest by authorities for possessing, cultivating or transporting marijuana within prescribed limits. One can legally possess up to 8 ounces of dried marijuana, grow up to six mature or 12 immature marijuana plants or “with a doctor’s recommendation, possess or grow a greater amount consistent with the patient’s reasonable needs.”

Arrests for possession may still occur, but users can use the CUA as a defense if the patient has evidence to show their legal right to use and possess. Marijuana, even medical marijuana, is still illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

After passage in 2016 of Prop 64, state and local authorities are scrambling to decide if and how to legalize, license or regulate medical-marijuana dispensaries, as well as recreational marijuana shops. Regulations should begin to be in place in January 2018.

But regardless of California law, federal law continues in opposition to marijuana use and possession, and is enforced according to guidelines from the federal administration in power.

The recent temporary closures of two local dispensaries is part of an ongoing civil action against the dispensaries as long as they remain illegal under county civil law ordinances. Criminal prosecution could occur if undercover operations discover criminal activity, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and Hemet Station Commander Capt. Leonard Purvis.


  1. Fear of Medical Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever.

    So please, all prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Medical Marijuana Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

    Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of Medical Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.

    The prohibition of marijuana has not decreased the supply nor the demand for medical marijuana at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing sick patients and senior citizens in pain for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than daily handfuls of deadly, toxic, man-made, highly addictive, narcotic pain pills and other pharmaceuticals.

    If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about “saving us all” from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

    Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize marijuana when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?

    Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and or practice a little live and let live. They’ll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Marijuana Laws.

    • When a loved one is in pain, wasting away unable to eat, and needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let’s have the compassion to allow them to have it.

      Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.

      Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.

      Support Medical Marijuana Now!

      “[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane.” — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, “Federal Foolishness and Marijuana,” editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997

      “The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses’ Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine.” — National Nurses Society on Addictions, May 1, 1995

      “[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use.” — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, “Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis,” 1995

      “When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug.” — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

      “[The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana] under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications.” — American Academy of Family Physicians, 1989, reaffirmed in 2001

      “[We] recommend … allow[ing] [marijuana] prescription where medically appropriate.” — National Association for Public Health Policy, November 15, 1998

      “Therefore be it resolved that the American Nurses Association will: — Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision.” — American Nurses Association, resolution, 2003

      • There is absolutely no denying that the vast majority of Americans support providing full, safe, legal access to Medical Marijauana Nationwide.

        Pennsylvania: Franklin & Marshall College
        A record number of Pennsylvania voters, 84 percent, favor legalizing medical marijuana for adults if a doctor recommends it.

        Harris Poll
        Eighty-one percent of respondents, including super-majorities ofDemocrats, Republicans, and Independents, expressed support forlegalizing marijuana for medical treatment.

        Virginia: Quinnipiac University Poll
        Fifty-four percent of voters support “allowing adults to legally
        possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.” Nearly nine out of ten Virginians support legalizing the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

        Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania: Quinnipiac University Poll
        Voters in three critical swing states support legalization and
        super-majorities in all three states endorse allowing doctors to
        recommend cannabis therapy.

        Pennsylvania: Robert Morris University
        The survey showed 67.5 percent of Pennsylvanians are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.

        Iowa: Des Moines Register Poll
        Seventy percent of Iowa adults say they favor legalizing marijuana for medical uses.

        North Carolina: Public Policy Polling
        Nearly seven out of ten North Carolinians support a doctor’s right to prescribe marijuana to patients in need.

        Third Way
        Fifty percent support legalizing recreational marijuana for use by adults; 78% are in favor of allowing individuals to use marijuana for medical purposes if a doctor recommends it.

        Florida: Gravis Marketing Poll
        More than 60 percent of Florida voters say that they support Amendment 2, a proposed constitutional amendment to permit cannabis therapy to qualified patients.

        Florida: Quinnipiac University Poll
        Fifty-five percent of voters support allowing adults in Florida to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.

        Connecticut: Quinnipiac University Poll
        Nine out of ten Connecticut voters support legalizing the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, and a majority support allowing adults to possess the plant for any purpose.

        Minnesota: KSTP/SurveyUSA Poll
        Sixty-eight percent of Minnesotans believe marijuana should be legal for medical purposes.

        WebMD Survey of Doctors
        A majority of doctors say that medical marijuana should be legalized nationally and that it can deliver real benefits to patients.

        Virginia: Quinnipiac University
        Virginia Voters Back Medical Marijuana with 84% support.

        Iowa: Quinnipiac University Poll
        Iowans overwhelmingly support allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for medical use.

        Maryland: Goucher Poll
        Ninety percent of Marylanders support the use of marijuana for medical purposes, if prescribed by a doctor.

        Pennsylvania: Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics Poll
        A strong majority (85%) of Pennsylvania voters say that patients should be allowed to use marijuana when prescribed by a doctor.

        Ohio: Quinnipiac University Poll
        Eighty-seven percent of Ohio voters support the use of medical marijuana.

        New York: Quinnipiac University Poll
        Voters in New York support the legalization of marijuana for both medical (88%) and personal (57%) use.

        North Carolina: Public Policy Polling
        A recent Public Policy Polling survey found 63 percent of North Carolina voters believe doctors should have the right to prescribe marijuana for medical use.

        Florida: Quinnipiac University Poll
        Eighty-two percent of Florida voters support the medicinal use of marijuana.

        Oklahoma: SoonerPoll
        Seventy-one percent support allowing seriously ill patients to possess marijuana for medical purposes with a physician’s recommendation.

        Fox News Poll
        Eighty-five percent of voters favor medical marijuana.

  2. I don’t smoke pot and I don’t enjoy the company of pot smokers.
    However, as lucrative professional jobs often drug test, that has benefitted me by improving my odds of getting a job, simply because the other people applying for the same job get weeded out (pun intended) by way of failing the drug test and lying on the job application.

    Go ahead. Smoke pot. You are making me look good and better in contrast.

    Same thinking when I was single and looking for a date. It’s awesome when the handsome looking dudes are gay, because I’m pretty ugly in comparison. But without those handsome gay dudes charming the ladies, I’m satisfied that the ladies will settle for me… the ugly straight guy.
    On a separate note, research studies show that 33% of people lack a sense of humor to detect sarcasm, yet they incorrectly believe that they possess a sense of humor.