Davis’ first medical marijuana clinic opens downtown

By May 17, 2011

An A-frame sign on E Street advertises the new 420 Relief business in downtown Davis. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

An A-frame sign on E Street advertises the new 420 Relief business in downtown Davis. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

Locals were surprised by the soft opening of a medical marijuana consultation clinic in downtown Davis over the weekend.

Company president Steve Maki said 420 Relief, at 231 E St., Suite 3, can issue medical marijuana cards, but is not a dispensary. Marijuana dispensaries are illegal in Davis under city ordinance.

As a consultation clinic, however, 420 Relief is permitted under zoning as a professional service and has an approved business license from the city, Community Development Administrator Katherine Hess said.

Capt. Darren Pytel of the Davis Police Department confirmed that the clinic has not broken any laws.

Maki said 420 Relief has a medical staff and licensed doctors, who see patients and write medical marijuana recommendations for treating symptoms. Patients also must show supporting documentation of symptoms from their primary care doctor, he said.

Treatable ailments include eczema, cancer, herpes, bipolar disorder, alcoholism and obesity, according to the company website and advertisements left on the windshields of cars parked downtown Saturday.

“This is medicine. There’s a stereotype for anyone who’s using marijuana that they’re troublemakers,” Maki said, adding that alcohol, while legal, has much worse effects on society.

“DUIs kill people every day of the week,” he said.

Maki owns three other clinics in the Sacramento area and said he is expanding his business to locations throughout California.

The Davis Downtown Business Association and Davis Chamber of Commerce learned of the new, potentially controversial business through the grapevine. But there is nothing unusual about that — businesses often open quietly, said DDBA Director Joy Cohan and Chamber Executive Director Christi Skibbins.

Additionally, while both organizations receive monthly summaries from the city on new business permits, the reports typically are a couple of months behind due to the time it takes to process the paperwork, they said.

Skibbins said the Chamber will treat 420 Relief in the same manner it would any new business, which is to welcome owners and ask if they are interested in joining the organization.

Mayor Joe Krovoza said the city will continue to monitor the situation, but he trusts staff’s assessment that no illicit activity has occurred.

“Our planning department has reviewed the situation,” Krovoza said. “There are no codes being violated and the activity is allowed under state law.”

Cayce Wallace, a life coach and parent of a Davis high schooler, said she was stunned to hear about the opening of 420 Relief over the weekend while at the coffee shop next door. Medical marijuana dispensaries and clinics are “an absolute sham,” Wallace said, claiming that cards are issued to people even if they are not suffering from severe health issues.

“These are your average pot-smoking Joes that go and get a card,” said Wallace, who works with teenagers with addiction problems, most commonly pot and alcohol abuse. Many of her clients are minors who say they easily obtained medical marijuana cards without their parents’ knowledge by citing trouble sleeping, anxiety and headaches, Wallace said.

“Every single one of them will laugh and say anybody can get a card,” she said.

Maki said he cannot speak for other clinics, but he strictly enforces age restrictions at 420 Relief. Patients must be 18 and older, or between 16 and 18 years old and accompanied by a parent or legal caregiver who has to sign the necessary paperwork, he said.

Of more than 3,000 cards issued by 420 Relief, only two have been issued to patients between 16 and 18, with parental or caregiver consent, he said.

— Reach Crystal Lee at [email protected] or (530) 747-8057.

Crystal Lee

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