Apr 26 2007

Take a letter

Posted by J. Craig Canada in banned, city council, Employment & Housing, greenway

Following is a letter (an email actually) I sent to the Santa Cruz City Council today.

RE: Discrimination and Abuse by Greenway and SCPC

In short, I had to raise a stink in public to get a discount from Greenway. A 25% discount. I am disabled, my only income is Social Security Disability. I am homeless, (and refused both emergency shelter and temporary shelter by Santa Cruz homeless services because I am a medical marijuana patient, and in debt over $6,000 staying in your overpriced flophouses masquerading as motels because of it.) And, if Greenway doesn’t know who I am they must be the only people in town that don’t by now. (I’ve told them several times, and mentioned my website.) And, I had to raise a stink to get compassion bags.

Now, I was evidently singled out for special treatment because if one of the ‘regulars’ at the bus station hadn’t told me I could get a compassion bag from Greenway, and encouraged me to ask about it, I wouldn’t have asked. Not after asking being screamed at, “We didn’t get here for free! Come back when you have some money.” when I had asked before. Not after being humiliated, demeaned, and abused by them when asking them to honor their committment to poor and homeless medical marijuana patients.

They started out giving 1/4 ounce per week. This became an 1/8th. And then it became schwag, mostly seeds and stems, the kind of stuff that gives you a headache. And then instead of once a week, it was “every 7 days” which meant if for some reason you couldn’t come in on the 7th day, you lose a day. And then, after buying an eigth, when I asked for a compassion bag, I was told they don’t give them out to people who buy, but that I could come back “tommorrow”. Well, I explained to them that it is over a two-hour trip for me, essentially an entire morning or afternoon, and they didn’t care. If I wanted a compassion bag, I could come back tommorrow.

And I lose another day because then it will be 7 days before I could get another.

But they banned me the next time I went in. Essentially the security guard told me if I couldn’t maintain they didn’t want me in there. And he kept telling me that until I began to look for my tape recorder. I told him I would like to get his statement on tape and he told me I was disrespectful and to leave.

And all these little “rule changes” were made known to me after the fact. And I was made to feel as if I was somehow at fault for not knowing these things. Your compassionate caregivers are behaving like DRUG DEALERS. They have no regard for the fact that patients must budget their medicine, that they cannot afford to buy all they need, or that many (if not most) must spend considerable time and effort (and often endure considerable discomfort) to get there. And then when they do get there they are stressed, searched, treated like dirt and not allowed to medicate. I remember one day I overheard them say, “She’s a friend of Lisa’s, it’s O.K. to let her use the restroom.”

Now, I ask you, where else would a place professing to care about the sick and disabled tell their clients that they must be “a friend” to use the restroom?

I have stood in line at Greenway before as the person in front of me asked about housing, as they were homeless. They told them to go to Corral Street (where they would be treated like a drug addict and told to give up their medicine or die in the street).

This is not how a “caregiver”, a person responsible for the housing, care, and well-being of a “patient” behaves.

Following is a copy of a posting of mine in the Santa Cruz Sentinel Forums on 25 April 2007:

I am tired of being treated like a piece of _s_h_i_t_ by people who are in business on the stregnth of their committment to be a caregiver

And this particular rant is prompted by being told “You can’t stand in front of the store.” at the other dispensary in Harvey West.

Now, I had just spent $50 in there.

Checking my expense report, I spent $87 in Greenway this month (through the 17th, the day I was officially unwelcomed), and $161 at SCPC (since the 17th).

Now, having just WALKED from town to Harvey West, and gone through a detector, and made my purchase, I needed to at least stand and rest a few minutes. And I was thinking about taking the bud out of the plastic bag and putting it in a little jar so it wouldn’t get crushed…

…I hadn’t been there a minute when the security guard stuck his head out and told me, “You can’t stand in front of the store.”

I told him I hadn’t been standing there a minute, and he could just chill. And I’m sorry but these dispensaries are nothing more than drug dealers. And Long’s (who’s purchases are right there alongside Greenway’s and SCPC’s in my expense report) NEVER treated me like that.

And another thing

One of the culminating events at Greenway occured the time before my last visit, when Robert (in his car of many stickers) gave me a ride over there.

When I was going inside he asked if he could use my cell-phone. I said sure. (I’ve since learned his father is dying, and he was probably trying to call in connection with that.) I left the cell-phone in his car as they don’t allow cell-phones in Greenway. Can you imagine how you would feel if Long’s tried to pull that?

But anyway, I assumed Robert knew how to unlock the keys, or could figure it out. But evidently, while I was inside he was interrupted while trying to figure it out. He said he was holding it up to the sun, trying to read the display (something is growing across the screen) and the security came out and started screaming at him that he couldn’t do that in the parking lot.

Now, he was trying to read the screen of a cell phone for crying out loud.

Now, let’s talk about RESPECT.

First of all, given the city council mandates this compassionate treatment of its patients, I can’t hold the dispensaries soley responsible. And of course, the city council’s reason for turning our clubs into their drug dealers is they “don’t want any problems”.

I sat in the meeting and heard them myself.

Now while I was in the SCPC (not to be confused with the Society for the prevention of Cruelty to anything…) there was (among the dozen or so that were in and out in the brief time I was there) a man mumbling angrily about “Lisa” and “100s just like you”.

I would have liked to ask him if Lisa had just banned him (probably a compassion bag case, you know, the kind that come begging for free medicine!). In fact, that was the main reason I was standing outside the “store”.

I wanted to ask him, when he came out, if what I surmised was the case. Actually, I wanted to ask him what his beef was (and not ‘lead’ him to gripe about anything specific).

Now, the dispensaries claim to legality is that they are serving as “caregivers”.

Then I suggest they damn well start behaving like “caregivers”.

And that means advocating for housing medical marijuana patients just like any other person with an illnes or disability. And that means treating them with some respect, and having some respect for them.

The fact is, the vast majority of medical marijuana patients (the real ones, anyway) are poor and disabled. Destitute. The hospitals and doctors and pill-pushers have taken all their money. Or the government and courts (if they took the initiative to try to grow their own – to provide their own medicine).

And another thing

One of the worst effects of the rules imposed upon the clubs by the city is they DISCOURAGE communication between patients and organization by them to address and seek redress of greivances.

And, boy howdy, you better believe WE have some.

Oh yes, we do.

That is a first amendment violation. It does say something about the right to peaceably assemble in there. And, trust me, there is nothing more peaceable than a bunch of pot-heads chilling.

But we can’t have people doing that. Not in compassion central. The sky might fall.

Meanwhile, you got a place opening for people to sit around and smoke tobacco…

…on main street.

On the town square.

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