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San Diego Marijuana Dispensaries Face Multiple Crackdowns

— San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith is mailing letters to San Diego dispensaries telling them they need to shut down because they violate city zoning laws.

San Diego doesn’t have an ordinance dictating where dispensaries can operate, and Goldsmith says that means all marijuana storefronts in the city are illegal, and can be shut down. He says that’s consistent with state law.

"Medicinal marijuana that was approved by voters in 1996 didn’t say a word about dispensaries or having storefronts. That’s a fiction of their imagination and that’s not the law," he said. "So, when you’re talking about land use, the city gets to decide that."

Goldsmith said the city tried to work with medical marijuana advocates to establish zones where dispensaries could operate. But an ordinance passed by the City Council was later repealed after advocates said it was too restrictive, and gathered enough signatures to force a vote on the issue.

Alex Kreit chaired the city’s medical marijuana task force. He says the ordinance was not perfect, but that medical marijuana supporters may have miscalculated when they opposed the regulations.

"The City Council, understandably, I don’t think is that interested in taking the issue up again because they feel like they passed something," he said. "Some members, it seems, feel like they got what was politically possible to get."

Medical marijuana advocates say they’re working to get a better ordinance on the books. For now, San Diego dispensaries are left in legal limbo while the local and federal governments move in.

Comments

Avatar for user 'imominous'

imominous | October 20, 2011 at 8:16 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

How amusing. Still ignoring the fact that they work for the people and the people have spoken.

Sounds like the city of San Diego's elected officials have forgotten their place. They don't dictate to us, they uphold our laws.

In this case, they should quit acting like the dang Weed Police, and carry out the will of the people.

Otherwise, we'll all become criminals to feed the private prison systems some 1%ers are getting wealthier from.

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Avatar for user 'Superlogicality'

Superlogicality | October 20, 2011 at 8:44 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Mr. Goldsmith made himself clear:

The city has found a perfectly legal way to circumvent the will of the people.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | October 20, 2011 at 9:39 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

I hope medical marijuana supporters remember this and actually turn out to vote when people like Mr. Goldsmith, Ms. Dumanis and any of the County Board of Supervisors are on the ballot.

By the way, if Dumanis loses her Mayoral bid will she remain the DA or will she have given that up to run for mayor?

I have been curious about this question and haven't found an answer.

Dumanis, along with the County Board of Supervisors who wasted millions appealing a frivolous mm lawsuit, have completely ignored the will of the people when it comes to this issue and now, sadly, our city government is doing the same.

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Avatar for user 'Ben_c'

Ben_c | October 20, 2011 at 1:46 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Let's not forget, prior to the referendum Medical Cannabis supporters ran the largest letter writing campaign in San Diego history, and probably the largest grassroots response to any ordinance in San Diego history, asking the council to "Amend and Approve" an ordinance.

There were a total of nearly 3800 letters sent to Council, both signed form letters and handwritten letters, and I'm willing to bet the council people received more constituent communication on that issue than any other since being elected and at least 80% of it came from people demanding safe access.

At the city council meetings, hundreds of first time attendees spoke to the council directly asking for the ordinance to be amended and approved.

In fact, this ordinance was so restrictive that Stephen Hill from Todd Gloria's office admitted that the city didn't even have software to generate a map indicating how restrictive it was! The largest areas of "access" on the deceptive map the city did release? Qualcomm Stadium and MiraMar Airbase. Obviously there isn't going to be access for patients at those locations.

So after approving an ordinance over unprecedented opposition (I encourage you to check with Council offices to see if they received more letters on any other ordinance), Council imposed an ordinance so restrictive the mapping software wasn't able to map it that would close EVERY COLLECTIVE IN THE CITY and require them to undergo processes that would take a YEAR OR LONGER to reopen. Guaranteeing San Diego patients would be without safe access at all during that period.

The five to seven locations - at best - that would be able to open after a year would be in the far flung industrial areas of the city. Obviously it is not ideal for a sick person to spend hours on public transit with medical cannabis.

My point is that advocates did everything "right" and were ignored by the City Council (with the notable example of Alvarez who noted the response and respected it). The City Council chose not to insert a grace period allowing collectives to remain open while becoming compliant. They refused to allow more zones for people in mid city communities. They refused to honor the largest constituent response to an ordinance in San Diego history. They refused to honor the recommendations of the medical marijuana task force they created.

I think that it's important in covering this issue to note that thousands of people chose to get involved and communicate their wishes to City Council, if anyone deserves blame, it certainly shouldn't be the patients who relied on a referendum as a last ditch effort AFTER putting forth the largest opposition campaign to an ordinance in city history.

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Avatar for user 'LeighSD'

LeighSD | November 16, 2011 at 8:45 a.m. ― 3 years ago

I voted in favor of medical marijuana. But I never expected the disaster that would follow. Perhaps I am naive (and was, at 18 when I voted for it) but I assumed that medical marijuana, being a prescribed drug, would be available by prescription through a pharmacy. I personally know people who suffered from HIV or the effects of chemotherapy that were greatly helped by marijuana. I thought it would be great that it would be offered to those that need it through medical channels.

Today, I feel taken advantage of. I NEVER would have voted in favor if I knew that there would be a pot dispensary on nearly every corner (and yes, they are in PB, where I work). And the majority of the people I know who frequent these dispensaries DO NOT have serious, chronic health problems that necessitate marijuana. (I am not making a sweeping statement here. Everyone I personally know who frequents the dispensaries are fully functioning, non-chronic pain or illness sufferers. They are just tokers that now have easier access.)

I voted in favor of medical marijuana. I did not vote in favor of legalizing marijuana and having it sold on every street corner. I do not think that the City Council is "going against the will of the people." I bet a lot of people feel the same way I do, that we were sold a bill of goods, and we feel taken advantage of. If I knew then what I knew now, I would not have voted in favor in the first place.

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Avatar for user 'Satariel'

Satariel | November 16, 2011 at 11:59 a.m. ― 3 years ago

People created the "medical marijuana" farce to skirt the laws and they saw it as one step towards legalization. It has striking parallels to medical booze during the prohibition of alcohol. It is a joke. I would prefer they present it as it is, not try to pass it of under the guise of compassionate care, etc. If this was the true purpose of medical marijuana, it would be as LeighSD envisioned. You get it from a pharmacy to treat illnesses, the same way other prescription medicines are handles. Medical marijuana is a joke. I would say 99% of medical marijuana users just want to get high legally, while 1% has a legitimate need for it.

Speaking of 99%, I wonder how many of the OWS protesters have their medical marijuana cards.

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