A stage four cancer survivor, Kathy Sparks has learned firsthand about the benefits of medical marijuana.
It helped with her nausea and pain without being as addictive as some of the heavy that narcotics doctors prescribe, she said.
Its important to her that the drug doesn’t just remain legal, but accessible to people struggling with cancer.
This belief is what drew her to a public hearing on the city’s six-month moratorium on marijuana gardens, which would allow up to 10 patients to grow the cannabis together.
The City Council decided to uphold the ban on the gardens Monday, which the state made legal this spring. The ban gives the city time to decide how to zone them.
Gardens would help patients too sick to keep their own plants to still have access to the drugs, said Lydia George, who works with the Issaquah’s Greenlink Collective, a group that provides information about medical marijuana.
While a marijuana garden hasn’t officially been planted so far, people have begun to talk about starting one. They’ll now have to wait, George said.
The public input was dominated by people sporting Greenlink T-shirts. Only one man stood in opposition to them. A San Francisco taxi driver, he watched the rise and fall of the love children, he said. He didn’t think pot should be used for medical purposes and that he didn’t want to associate with people who use it.
City council members were sympathetic to the medical marijuana patients, many recognizing it as a valid medicine.
Most members sided with keeping the moratorium because they wanted more time to reach out to the community and to figure out what areas would be appropriate for such a garden.
“I will not stand for a law that zones them to a small, impractical part of the city,” said Joshua Schaer, in precise lawyering tones.
While Police Chief Paul Ayers didn’t want to take a stand on the issue, he urged the council to consider resident safety.
Medical marijuana has been the reason for several home invasion robberies and shootings, he said. A garden would also cause problems with loitering and burglary.
Greenlink has tried in the past to provide information to city officials about medical marijuana. It wasn’t until the moratorium came up, that they started getting some interest, George said.
“We’re disappointed in their decision, but feel encouraged that we’ve opened the lines of communication.”