I supported San Diego’s Stop the Ban campaign Monday (March 28) by attending a rally in front of City Hall. So many people showed up in opposition of this ban that not all of us could get into the building or inside the council chambers. There were some great messages rolling through the crowd on homemade signs. My personal favorites were: “Patient not pothead”, “Plants not pills”, and “Marijuana is a gateway drug” its punny message surrounded by junk food packaging.
Still wanting to witness what was occurring, I was able to watch the day’s ongoing city council meeting live on computer via webcam.
Prop 215 gives patients the right to choose medical marijuana as a medicine. What the city council’s ban would do is effectively impose numerous zoning restrictions on dispensaries, both currently operating and proposed ones, to the point of eliminating most of them thus denying patients safe, local access to their medication. There are approximately 160 dispensaries operating in San Diego. The zoning restrictions would send the majority of them to District 6, now being referred to by some as “pot town.”
Per the amended ban, Land Use permits will restrict dispensaries from operating within 600 feet of a church, school, or park. As if this wasn’t restrictive enough, one council member included an amendment that would also tie in numerous Health and Safety Code permitting required of all dispensaries. The original proposal sited 1000 feet, yet the approved amendment sited 600 feet ~ the same zoning guidelines used for liquor stores. Alcohol is not medication so why lump medical marijuana dispensaries in with those zoning ordinances? Pharmacies are allowed to open and dispense medication freely and can be found on nearly every corner in every town. They are not lumped into the same category with alcohol, so why do it to medical marijuana collectives?
Who are the members of the San Diego City Council supposed to represent? Their constituents. I’m a constituent yet not one member of the current City Council represented my interests in their vote tonight. Why do I continue to believe that the voting citizens of this city have any influence in laws and ordinances that are made anymore? They didn’t even support the recommendations of their own Medical Marijuana Task Force. It was as if they had already made up their mind to create a ban and limit the City’s liability with their additional amendments. Sure, they sat and listened to five hours of public comments then promptly disregarded the will of the people, and voted to restrict the dispensary operations to their original intended plan of “not in MY town.” Who made San Diego THEIR town?
Even the two council members who opposed the ordinance (Carl DeMaio & Lori Zapf) did so based on motives of narrow self-interests. My god, if I hear “what about the children” one more time, I’m gonna need more medication to stop from screaming. To me, all their moral posturing and prejudice represent is their inability to allow alternatives to big pharmaceutical profits.
1.3 million California voters already agree with the medicinal use and health benefits of marijuana. To ban safe and local access to this medication is unethical, unreasonable, and merciless. One woman addressing the council in reference to declining crime quoted her grandfather, “If it ain’t fucking broke, don’t fix it.” I hear ya, honey. I’m with you and gramps.
What’s gonna happen when all the constituents who choose pharmaceuticals over natural remedies are dead from medication induced side effects? I dream of the day when healthy, non-judgmental individuals stand side by side with open minded medical marijuana users and no one is denied their chosen form of care.