Two months after the Oakland, California City Council spun heads by making the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative (OCBC) an official government agency, feds shut the joint down. In retaliation, the city declared a public health emergency. “The feds sponsored this emergency,” said Joe DeVries, assistant to councilmember Nate Miley. “Patients desperately need this medicine. We don’t want them engaging in illegal and potentially dangerous behavior to get it.” While largely symbolic, the declaration allows pot-for-pain proponents to explore alternative means to serve OCBC’s 2,200 former members. Ideas include allowing doc-recommended patients to harvest the herb in designated city spaces. “Will officials hand out joints on the steps of City Hall? I doubt it,” DeVries said. San Francisco and Berkeley have declared medical emergencies for needle distribution, but Oakland is the first city to cry crisis over cannabis.
Oakland draws a line in the sand
February 1, 1999 • By Gabi Horn