Sunday, April 20, 2014

Davis’ first medical marijuana clinic opens downtown

May 17, 2011 | 11 Comments

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 or (530) 747-8057.


Discussion | 11 comments

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  • AscianaMay 17, 2011 - 9:47 am

    Congratulations Mr. Maki! It appears Ms. Wallace talks with ignorance and fork-tongue. There, there, let me help her: “These are your average alcohol-drinking Joes that go and get booze anywhere." “Every single one of them will laugh and say anybody can booze."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • esgeeMay 17, 2011 - 6:11 pm

    i would rather have someone stoned behind the wheel then s*** faced drunk

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  • SimonMay 18, 2011 - 10:13 am

    This is great! To Cayce Wallace, who was quoted in the article: Who cares if you think it's a sham! Just because it's been abused by teenagers doesn't mean there aren't sick people who are legitimately being helped by medical marijuana! It's a service in high demand in this area, and poo-poo-ing a DOCTOR location in Davis does nothing to address your concerns of abuse. If you think people are abusing the medical marijuana system, maybe you should take that up with the state, but Californians have already made it very clear that they believe in the value of this system, and there are countless examples of ailing Californians -- people with cancer, AIDS, multiple scleroses -- who have been helped immeasurably by legal medical marijuana in ways that other Big Pharma drugs could not help them. The opening of this business means someone is bringing a service that is in high demand by Davis residents to Davis so they don't have to travel to Sacramento for these services. Not only that, but this also fills empty commercial space in the downtown core (something that has been desperately needed), and it will bring more customers downtown. I'm sure business at Chipotle will benefit from this too. Davis now needs to readdress its rules on dispensaries and allow at least one in town. Put it in the West Davis shopping center; they have tons of empty space right now, and it would be far away from the precious downtown area.

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  • AscianaMay 21, 2011 - 8:25 am

    Yup, with all the alcohol-related violence that has been going on in ''precious downtown' Davis for the past several years...maybe its time for a marijuana dispensary in Yolo County...calm folks down a bit, eh? What's the worse that can happen? A few sessions of Kumbaya in the parking lot???!!

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  • wrenMay 18, 2011 - 10:38 am

    Educate me here. Why can't one with a legitimate need go to one's regular physician and get a prescription?

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  • ArjunMay 18, 2011 - 1:00 pm

    Marijuana still a schedule I substance under the controlled substance act, and that defines it as unsafe, with high abusive potential, and no benefits for medical use. Until marijuana is rescheduled it's illegal for doctors to prescribe. We can use the state's rights arguments to support medical marijuana clinics and dispensary systems, and this administration said it wouldn't interfere with clinics and dispensaries that abide by state laws.

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  • Patrick TMay 31, 2012 - 10:01 pm

    Any licensed Doctor practicing in the state of CA has the legal right to reccomend, but it is federally illegal for one to prescribe MMJ. there is a slight difference but anyways.... The women quoted in this article is entitled to her opinion as we all are, what irritates me is the one sided reporting of the author. Medical Marijuana needs to be accessible. We need to be able to access medicine(whatever kind it may be!) safely and legally. what is a true sham is that city leaders across the entire state have started to enact ordinances that force people to get medicine through an underground, untaxed and dangerously uncontrolled marketplace.

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  • The idea guyMay 18, 2011 - 2:03 pm

    So a life coach thinks medical marijuana is a sham? Gosh, we all better do what "coach" says, eh? Coach yourself Cayce and leave those alone who feel this is a help for their particular condition if it suits them. Medical marijuana is definitely not a sham. Do some abuse it? Sure. But that's no reason to smear the whole program. Do we ban prescription drugs because some manage to get them illicitly? No. Go ahead and help keep younger ones away from MMJ, but knock off the nanny bit for adults. Welcome to town 420 Relief

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  • Debra LoGuercio DeAngeloJune 22, 2011 - 9:58 am

    How about the folks who don't want to go there... just don't go there. Just a thought.

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  • Jesse LorenJune 22, 2011 - 10:41 am

    Beer is medicinal. Herbs are medicinal. Food is medicinal. Some alcohol, beer and foods are not good, especially in large amounts. Some people abuse things. Some people abuse people. Because some people are abusive we don't make them illegal. To make all food, all beer, wine, herbs illegal and suspect is just stupid.

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  • LarryJune 22, 2011 - 10:57 am it's next door to Chipotle. Can I order a "happy burrito" please?

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