Medical marijuana users should be able to legally acquire pot in Hesperia, a spokesman for a non-profit advocacy group said Tuesday at the Hesperia City Council meeting.


"We would love to work with the city of Hesperia to help provide safe access to these patients while keeping it out of the hands of our children," said Kevin Sutman, who was one of about 20 members of the West Coast Patient Group, Inc. in attendance.


The group is hoping to form a collective within city limits. But first the group will have to persuade the council to undo what it's already done regarding medical marijuana dispensaries.


Five years ago, the City Council passed a resolution that prohibited groups from setting up a location in Hesperia. The resolution was designed proactively so Hesperia would not face similar problems that occurred in several Northern California municipalities.


"All these jurisdictions commented they would rather not have the dispensaries at all," Principal Planner Dave Reno said.


Sutman believes education is the key to winning the medical marijuana argument.


In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, which said marijuana should be legal for medicinal purposes. Medical cannabis is used to treat numerous maladies from insomnia and glaucoma to multiple sclerosis and cancer. Smoking marijuana is proven to increase appetite in patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS and other conditions.


Typically, potential medical marijuana collective members must show identification and possess a doctor's recommendation prior to acceptance to the collective. And allowing medical marijuana collectives won't increase crime, Sutman said.


Despite advocating medical marijuana dispensaries, the group isn't in favor of Proposition19, which is known as the Marijuana Legalization Initiative. Several members said they were against the proposition because it would allow local governments to levy taxes and fees on medical marijuana.They want medical marijuana to be free from taxation.


The group's visit to the Hesperia City Council meeting is likely the first of several, Sutman said.


"In the near future we will be providing the council with educational material to better help the council understand the importance of cooperatively designing an ordinance that will benefit our community."