The longtime host of the Montel Williams Show is opening a medical marijuana dispensary in Sacramento, according to various news outlets including Village Voice Media's very own Toke of the Town blog. Williams, who suffers from multiple scleroris, has been an outspoken advocate of medical cannabis for years now. But the move from moral support to active purveying of said medicine is a bold move for the for the former talk show host.
Indeed, Williams' new shop, the Abatin Wellness Cooperative, is already generating controversy in Sacramento, which has a moratorium on new cannabis clubs. Among those not too happy, in fact, are some of the clubs that were grandfathered into the city's marijuana collective ordinance. Presumably, they're not wild about such high-profile competition.
According to Williams, his dispensary will be different from others because it's a high-end operation where patients won't be sticking their noses in jars of weed. “You see people standing around, sticking their nose into things,” Williams complained. “I don't go to CVS to pick up an individual Vicodin.” But as Toke of the Town's Steve Ellliot notes, there are all sorts of
marijuana strains available to treat various ailments and customers
often use their nose to inspect the weed and make sure it's fresh.
How did Williams get around the moratorium? According to a detailed article in the Sacramento News & Review, the location of his new club, 2100 29th St., used to house the now-defunct Capitol Wellness Collective, and the club's previous owner is now Williams' executive director. (He claims he's just a consultant, but has expressed interest in opening other dispensaries around the country).
Among the critics of Williams' new move is one contractor who claims the previous dispensary owes him $20,000; others are griping that Williams is just trying to cash in on a local movement they created. Williams denies he's in it for the money. “I've been doing this for the last 10 years,” he said. “It's not like I'm doing this make a buck.”