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Seniors Fight To Get Much-Needed Medical Marijuana Delivered In Walnut Creek

WALNUT CREEK (KPIX 5) -- Seniors in Walnut Creek want to know why their city is making it so hard to get medical marijuana. They said the city's stance is putting seniors who rely on pot in a tough spot.

Tuesday night the city council unanimously approved a plan to allow two dispensaries to operate but there will be no storefronts, only deliveries.

"They just don't want to be seen as stepping too far out on a limb," says medical marijuana user Brad Waite. "In our opinion, there's no limb. There's not even a tree."

Voters in Walnut Creek endorsed legalizing marijuana by six percent, but the city council banned the sale of recreational and medical marijuana.

Residents of Rossmoor retirement community say they rely on cannabis.

Dr. Paul Holland uses it as a sleep aid. "Severe insomnia, can't sleep," he says.

Beverley Kivel does, too.

"It really helps me sleep," she says. "I feel nothing. I'm just relaxed and I go to sleep."

Tess Schoenbart says it helps her anxiety and depression.

It also allows them to stop taking other medications.

"Taking medical marijuana is a wonderful way to get away from opioids," says Elliot Tertes, who also relies on medical pot.

The Medical Marijuana Club at Rossmoor has an email list of more than a thousand names. The club's founder, Renee Lee, says it's growing.

"We're having between an 150 to 200 people coming to our group meetings and 30 to 40 new people every month since probably last November," says Lee.

But a few months ago, they hit a roadblock.

"Up until January this year, we had delivery service which would come right to your home and deliver whatever you needed," says Dr. Paul Holland. "Just call them on the phone and they came the next day. Now I have to go into Oakland."

A number of Rossmoor residents don't drive.

"One of the new laws that became enacted on January 1 is that in order to retail cannabis, that company now needs to have written permission from the city in which they operate," says Rebecca Byars, co-founder of Radical Health.

Before Prop 64, the state regulated medical marijuana. Now local governments do.

"Cannabis is far less accessible out here than it was just in December," says Byars.

Under the new plan, the city will allow two dispensaries to operate but there will be no storefronts, only deliveries.

Byars says it's far from ideal but it's a step in the right direction.

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