An alarming number of Redwood High School students have easy access to marijuana it seems.
Corte Madera Vice Mayor Bob Ravasio reported during Tuesdsay night's Town Council meeting that a survey found 40 percent of juniors at Redwood have used marijuana within the past 30 days.
"That is much higher than the state average. That is higher than the national average," Ravasio said of the findings from the 2009 California Healthy Kids survey.
Police could not say for sure how the students are getting the drugs, but suggested they could be getting it from friends or relatives who are clients of the dispensaries.
That news was revealed after the Town Council voted unanimously to extend for one year a moratorium against any new medical marijuana dispensaries opening in Corte Madera. Marin Holistic Solutions, located in the Tamal Plaza office park, is the only medical marijauna dispensary currently in Corte Madera.
TCPD Sergeant Hamid Khalili confirmed "A majority of the kids we encounter who claim to be in possession of medicinal marijuana are getting it from local dispensaries."
"With all of the juvenile marijuana incidents we’ve had from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, 2011 (44), there have only been three incidents where dispensary containers were discovered. It may be true that they are getting the (marijuana) from friends/relatives that are dispensary clients," TCPD Chief Todd Cusimano clarified in an e-mail. "However, studies have shown that prices for (marijuana) in the dispensaries and illicit (marijuana) on the street are relatively comparable. If someone is buying it at the dispensary and then reselling it, trying to turn a profit, they would have to sell it for an even higher price than the dealers are selling it at… In our opinion, (that is) not as likely."
The dispensary and Twin Cities Police are working together to identify members who might misuse prescriptions by tracking bottles issued by the dispensary, according to Scott Candell, attorney for Marin Holistic Solutions. Candell says the dispensary operates much like a convential pharmacy, with an employee to help patients find the right product for their illness.
Candell reports that only once in the collective's history has a prescription bottle from Marin Holistic been found in the possession of a teenager. "In that case, we tracked the bottle to the patient who was given the medicine and that patient's membership was immediately terminated," Candell reported.
According to Candell, the dispensary does not allow drug use on the premises or within 500 feet of the office.
Cusimano says the TCPD has a good relationship with the collective. "At this time, Marin Holistic Solutions has done everything we (police) have asked of them and they have been very responsive to any of our concerns," he said.
Cusimano agrees the numbers of teen drug and alcohol use in the area is a serious concern, but also one that can be difficult to control.
"Per SB420, the dispensaries are supposed to sell (marijuana) only to persons with county issued cards, issued through the Health and Human Services Department. And they are also only supposed to sell to persons that live within the county they are located in," Cusimano wrote. "However, it’s been proven many times that (despite the fact they are supposed to (be) “collectives” and “non-profit”) that they will sell to anyone who has the cash… (with whatever appropriate documentation they require, usually just the doctor’s recommendation.)"
"They're not going about it the right way. They're not getting the County Department of Health marijuana cards" Khalili said. "You can go online, pay some amount and get a (fake) doctor's note and they take that to the dispensary and the dispensary gives them medicinal marijuana."
Despite recent actions against dispensaries and growers from the Federal government, Candell says there has been no pressure brought on Marin Holistic, according to Candell. There has been no action against Marin Holistic since a 2010 settlement with the Town in which the dispensary agreed it would not take on any new clients under age 21. Previously, the dispensary restricted membership to clients ages 18 and older.