Amid federal raids of some Costa Mesa marijuana dispensaries and warning letters to others, a local shop owner plans to bring several senior-citizen patients to Tuesday night's City Council meeting to speak about how the closings are affecting their lives.
Until federal authorities forced it to close last week, the Nutritional Concepts Pain Releaf Center in Costa Mesa was run by retired nurse Joyce Weitzberg. Many of her patients, she says, are facing terminal illnesses and rely on medical marijuana to ease pain in the final stages of their lives.
"I have 60-, 70-, 80-year-old patients that are chronically ill," she said. "They're dying of cancer," and "now they have nowhere to go."
Authorities began cracking down on Costa Mesa dispensaries last month, raiding two of them and issuing warning letters to more than 30 others, according to the Daily Pilot. Distribution of marijuana for medical purposes is legal under state law but not federal law.
Weitzberg says the raids came as a complete surprise, especially given recent efforts by Mayor Gary Monahan to cultivate support from the marijuana dispensary community.
Weitzberg will ask the City Council to enact an emergency ordinance allowing a few dispensaries to stay open until a permanent ordinance is written.
"Who are we bothering? How about the cancer patients who sit and suck a lollipop while they're going through chemotherapy?" asked Weitzberg. "Why does anybody care?"