News

Medical pot club opens, against city's wishes

Well-heeled lawyer Matt Lucero says he's ready for legal battle

The City Council decided Tuesday to take legal action against the first known storefront pot club in Mountain View, operated by a multimillionaire lawyer who says he is ready for a legal fight.

Lawyer Matt Lucero and his nephew Jesse opened a medical marijuana dispensary called Buddy's on April 10 in a warehouse at 2632 Bayshore Parkway. Its opening came as a surprise to city officials, and to other prospective pot club operators who believed the city would allow them to open dispensaries legally sometime in the next year.

City Council members met in closed session on Tuesday night to discuss a potential lawsuit meant to close the dispensary. The city considers the club to be illegal under a moratorium on pot clubs the council approved in February. City attorney Jannie Quinn said the council had decided to "initiate an action" against the pot club, but declined to say what that action would be until it actually happened.

If the city does move forward with legal action, "I am absolutely ready for them," Lucero said Wednesday. He said he believes state law supersedes the city's moratorium.

"We have very considerable financial resources and the backing of some really, really hard-hitting lawyers -- people who have won California Supreme Court cases," Lucero said. "We're going to stay."

Some of those financial resources may come from Lucero himself, who said he made his millions working as a lawyer for large tech companies. "I've been significantly a millionaire for many years," he said.

Originally from Staten Island, Lucero has lived in the county since 1988 and currently resides in Campbell. He said the dispensary isn't about making money or making a political point: "It's about getting medicine to people who need it -- people who are fighting AIDS and fighting cancer. I will absolutely continue to fight for the rights of the seriously ill residents of Santa Clara County."

The dispensary opened to the chagrin of prospective pot club operator Brian David, who wanted to work cooperatively with the city to open a pot club in the same Shoreline industrial neighborhood.

"Personally I feel he is breaking the law, and being an attorney does not make him above the law so he should be arrested, fined or both," David said in an e-mail. He added that pot club regulations could be approved by the council later this year, so he worried that the city would try to pass on a lawsuit against the dispensary.

Lucero said he picked Mountain View because it appeared that the City Council was relatively supportive of dispensaries. While a majority of council members supported the idea of allowing dispensaries in a February meeting, the council wanted more time to create regulations on them and placed a temporary ban on them starting in March. Because of that moratorium, the city had rejected an application for a business license by the operators of Buddy's.

The pot club's "discreet" location on Bayshore Parkway was selected in respect for concerns from city officials, Lucero said. "If you don't know it is here you are going to drive right by it, which is exactly how we want it," he said.

A look inside

The dispensary is located in a warehouse building that is partly used by Intuit for storage (Intuit has no connection to the pot club). On display in small jars are the various strains of marijuana for sale, which Lucero said are legally grown by collective members.

Inside, electronic music bounces off the pink walls and black-and-white floor. A large mural of the Virgin Mary is one of the first works by local artists that the collective hopes to have on display.

The place is well fortified: An alarm system uses laser beams to alert police to break-ins, heavy bars are installed over the windows, and soon security cameras will be installed.

Prospective club members are directed into a waiting room made from covered cyclone fence, where their doctor's notes are verified before a membership card is issued. Members are then allowed through a locked door into the dispensary.

"No one gets through that caged area unless we've verified their doctor's recommendation," Lucero said. "We do not distribute to non-members ever, ever."

The pot club had over 100 members join in the first week and took in $4,000 in sales, Lucero said.

Lucero said he hopes the pot club will be a "very positive community center" where artists can display their art and medi-pot users can take classes about how to grow their own marijuana. Buddy's is a nonprofit, and its surplus revenue will be available to local charities and other nonprofits, Lucero said.

According to Lucero, the dispensary has already been visited by Mountain View police, a building code enforcement officer, city attorney Quinn, city manager Kevin Duggan, planning director Randy Tsuda and council members John Inks and Tom Means.

"I assured them it would be lawful," he said.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by bill
a resident of Whisman Station
on Apr 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Open it in Campbell then..we all know it will not be 100% used by people who are ill.
Crime will increase!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sisi
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 21, 2010 at 3:54 pm

where do i get a membership? hahaha i am sure it will be open to the public. Get them out of MT view!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by .haNk
a resident of another community
on Apr 21, 2010 at 4:08 pm

A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION!!! OPEN IN SANTA CLARA NEXT!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by UGHH!!!
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm

GET THE HELL OUTTA MOUNTAIN VIEW!!! @*#%*%?!!!!!!! Damn pot heads are trying to take over the world.. Can't you people live without drugs and just be normal??? More than half of you don't even need pot.. you're just abusing the drug because you have to fill that void in your life with SOMETHING. This crap is really getting on my nerves and I think humanity is going down the drain. BTW.. I'm only 23 and I am NOT republican so keep your "old fart" and political comments to yourself.
Also, it's really sad to see that people think it's "OK" to smoke pot and there is nothing wrong with it. IT'S A FREAKING DRUG!!!!! obviously NONE of you learned anything in school. People are really stupid.
Lastly, I know there are a lot of people who are actually suffering out there and need medicinal pot. Those people have cancer, MS, ALS, and many other diseases that cannot be cured. It's really sad to see that all you other people think that YOU should have access to pot also and be able to abuse it because you're leg or finger is hurting. PATHETIC!!!!!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by DCS
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 21, 2010 at 5:49 pm

DCS is a registered user.

I used to think that all "street drugs" had no medicinal value, until I read some literature about pain. Pain is very real, and affects people in different ways. Why do you think there are hundreds and hundreds of pain medication on the market? It is because everyone reacts to pain medication differently. One person might need drugs after surgery to relieve pain, another person might throw up the very same drugs, another person might take an NSAID (over the counter pain medication), and another person might take nothing. Nobody knows what type of pain another person is feeling, and judging people about their pain is the wrong approach. As a person with pharmaceutical experience, I would rather see medicinal pot distributed like other controlled substances.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by undrgrndgirl
a resident of another community
on Apr 21, 2010 at 6:39 pm

undrgrndgirl is a registered user.

GOOD ON YA Matt Lucero!!

To most of the above posters - GET EDUCATED...I don't even know where to start! Cannabis IS medicine. Dispensaries DO NOT sell to children (unless they have a proper recommendation AND a parent with them, just like when kids get prescriptions for ritalin and adderall (both amphetamines); nor do they increase the crime rate...NO drugs are 100% used medicinally - i mean really - let's get realistic here...Try reading Drug Crazy by Mike Gray, and just about anything on the NORML web site (especially the pages related to medical research)...and go from there!

Furthermore, none of you seems to have a problem with the sale of tobacco and/or alcohol around minors or caffeine TO minors...

YES on TAX AND REGULATE CANNABIS 2010!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by B.D.
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm

B.D. is a registered user.

I believe that safe and affordable access to medical marijuana will be a reality in a very short time frame here in Mountain View. The city staff is currently working on a compassionate ordinance to allow Medical Cannabis Dispensing Collectives in our city. And before Matt Lucero jumped in and made a personal decision to blatantly open a collective in spite of the ordinance. I was hoping to see this ordinance in June before the Summer break for the Council. Now I am not sure what to think as the city resources are now focused on this new development. Thanks Matt. I believe in your movement just not in your methods.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by rsteeb
a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 7:28 pm

rsteeb is a registered user.

Allow me to boil it down for you, Skippy/UGHH!!!: To keep Cannabis illegal while tobacco and alcohol are dispensed freely would be *MURDEROUSLY STUPID*.

ANY questions?
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link

-Richard Steeb, San Jose California
[glaucoma]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by FamilyMan
a resident of Jackson Park
on Apr 23, 2010 at 9:02 am

FamilyMan is a registered user.

The same people who are DISGUSTED with marijuana are the same people who use the more dangerous 'prescription' drugs that are far more addicting , have dangerous 'side-effects' and are sometimes deadly. Yet these 'prescription' drugs are sold at pharmacies. Why NOT control and regulate marijuana? I support the legalization of marijuana in a regulated form. TAX IT!!!


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