San Diego City Council goes backwards on medical marijuana

By CityBeat Staff

editorialA patient decries Tuesday’s raid.
– Photo by David Rolland
Man, talk about getting dissed. For all the effort San Diego Mayor Bob Filner put into proposing a new way to make storefront medical-marijuana dispensaries legal, and after more than three hours of public testimony on Monday, the City Council essentially ignored Filner’s proposal and reverted to a plan that failed two years ago. Led by Councilmember Marti Emerald, a Democrat, the council told the City Attorney’s office to bring back an ordinance that the council passed—and then rescinded—in 2011, so that it can be used as the template for another try.
But here’s the head-scratcher: The 2011 ordinance was rescinded because advocates for medical marijuana, who thought the proposal made it too hard for many people to get access to the herb, collected enough signatures to put a repeal measure on the ballot, and the council decided to give up rather than pay for an election. Not only is the council going back to that failed effort; it sounds like the council’s planning to make it even more restrictive this time.
What’s going on here? Do council members believe the advocates regret their repeal effort so much that they’ll accept whatever the City Council passes, even if it’s worse than the last one? Do they not care if the advocates collect signatures again? If that happens, is the council prepared to just throw up its hands and move on to the next issue?
City Council President Todd Gloria, who on Monday appeared perplexed and disappointed by his colleague’s direction, has spoken for the entire council in saying that it fully supports the notion of marijuana as medicine. Indeed, several members echoed that sentiment, with Councilmember Scott Sherman, a Republican, even talking sincerely about someone close to him who benefited from marijuana. However, the majority of the council clearly wants to make it difficult for people to get at this medicine.
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