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Judge extends restraining order halting sale of pot in downtown

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POSTED March 26, 2010 2:36 a.m.
A temporary restraining order barring Quick N’ East Markets from selling marijuana in downtown Manteca has been extended for 90 days.

San Joaquin Superior Court Judge Lesley Holland Wednesday extended her original temporary restraining order that was due to expire on Thursday to allow both sides to prepare arguments at a later date on whether she should issue a permanent injunction.

The extension came on the same day that the Secretary of State confirmed that a measure to legalize recreational marijuana use for those 21 and older had qualified for the November ballot. Currently, it is legal in California to use pot for medicinal purposes providing one has a doctor’s prescription. The current law as outlined in Proposition 215, though, give discretion to the cities and counties as to whether they will allow so-called marijuana clubs.

Whether the Quick N’ Easy Markets at 311 W. Yosemite Ave. is a co-op or selling marijuana for profit is at the crux of the City of Manteca’s legal challenge.

The city has made it clear through an ordinance that Manteca does not allow the sale of marijuana through a dispensary.

The District Attorney’s office has reportedly stated that if the business is operating a true cooperative, they will not seek prosecution against those involved with the business.

California voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996 to allow for individuals that have received a valid prescription from a licensed medical doctor or the patient’s primary caregiver to possess and cultivate marijuana for medicinal use. Marijuana aids patients afflicted with AIDS and cancer to regain their appetite and those suffering from chronic pain with something different than the opiate-based prescriptions that are commonly used.

But the federal government still doesn’t formally recognize the decisions of individual states to allow for marijuana – listed as a prohibited Schedule 1 drug in the Controlled Substances Act – to be used as a medicine even if it is approved by the doctor. The Obama administration has said that going after dispensaries was extremely low on their list of priorities.

Under Proposition 215, cities have the option of allowing pot collectives or banning them. Nearly half of the state’s cities have done so. What cites have allowed is varied. There are four pot dispensaries licensed by the City of Oakland, more than 20 in Redding, and close to 900 in Los Angeles.

The Manteca City Council late last year at two separate meetings maintained stony silence when a resident asked under citizens comments for Manteca to allow pot dispensaries as he had to drive in Oakland to get marijuana to deal with a series of work-related injuries.
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