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July 20, 2011 (El Cajon)-- Mother Earth Alternative Health Cooperative, Inc., is attracting a steady stream of customers three weeks after opening its doors in an unincorporated area of El Cajon near Gillespie Field.


Some might say it’s high time. California voters approved medical marijuana with a ballot initiative back in 1996, but San Diego Supervisors filed suit to block implementation.


After 15 years of legal wrangling, Sheriff Bill Gore signed a permit allowing the County's first official coop to open in full compliance with the law.


"We are very excited about providing safe, reliable access to patients in San Diego County who suffer from seriously ill and in many cases debilitating conditions," said Bob Reidel, official spokesperson for the coop. The majority of patients are 40 or over, contrary to the popular belief that a marijuana clinic would attract mainly younger people, he added.


Located at 8157 Wing Avenue in an unincorporated area of El Cajon, the 15,000 square foot commercial building is in an industrial zone next to Gillespie Air Field—complying with county requirements that such facilities must be more than 1,000 feet from schools, parks and churches.


On July 1, 2011, Mother Earth's Alternative Healing Cooperative Inc. received its final permit, "Medical Marijuana Collective Operations Certificate", signed by Sheriff Gore himself, allowing the coop to operate in full compliance with the law. According to Reidel, it has taken over a year of work and planning to meet approval and come into full compliance with the new stringent requirements.


The exterior has no name on the building, only a discreet logo.  The interior has a waiting room similar to that of a medical facility. The coop includes a dispensing center with privacy booths where members receive consultations about their cannabis therapy from licensed pharmaceutical technicians.


Security cameras monitor the premises and the clinic has worked closely with the Sheriff to fully comply with all requirements.


Patients must bring in a prescription from a doctor. Anyone under 18 must bring a parent as well as approval from their primary care physician. The clinic accepts cash, checks and credit.