City Council overly-restricts medical marijuana dispensaries

by on March 29, 2011 · 28 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Health, Popular, San Diego

Medicinal supporters pack Council Chambers

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.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Danny Morales March 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I just got back from Newport where the sign in front of the Wellness Center is indicating a going out of business sale. I talked with one of the employees there and she told me that as a result of the city council action she’ll probably be unemployed. As you know, gentle reader, current marijuana laws are rooted in prejudice. Despite all the evidence to the contrary our governing class continues to adhere to the belief that good public policy comes from the ignorant instead of the informed consent of the governed. I watched yesterdays city council session on the web as well and boy can I tell you we are in deep doo-doo! With nuclear waste on the verge of world-wide contamination of the food chain, with unemployment still at record levels and wars and the rumor of war ruining the american economy our local city council chose to ignore the Medical Marijuana Task Force’s recomendations, the appeal of the Community Planners, opinions of the scientific community and good reason to maintain the status quo ante. It’s as if they were speaking for the entire capitalist governing class and telling the people:
“Après moi le déluge”

Good Luck w/dhat
I’m ouuta here!


Sunshine April 6, 2011 at 9:06 am

thanx, danny. As you pointed out, there are so many issues on the table in this ongoing debate. I wish lawmakers would see how truly beneficial MMJ is. If they could only separate the issues of safe and local access for patients from their attitudes and prejudices of moral posturing this ban may have never gone this far.


annagrace March 29, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Sunshine- thank you for being there and presenting an account that we will not see anywhere else.


Sunshine April 6, 2011 at 9:07 am

just speaking from the heart, annagrace. thanx for your comment.


Dave Rice March 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm

But what about the children? No responsible parent would let a bunch of heathen potheads anywhere near their kid – before you know it they’ll end up running around and frolicking in nature, playing with flowers, and having a great time without the assistance of a single commercially purchased toy. The horror!

Thanks for your report, Sunshine – and by the way, Kenzi absolutely adores you!


Goatskull March 30, 2011 at 6:54 am

Don’t forget there will be a national shortage of Doritos.


Sunshine April 6, 2011 at 9:11 am

too funny, dave! i heard a comedian once say he gave his grandson a pack of batteries and wrote, “Toy not included” on the tag. How delightful to think about frolicking, playing, and having a great time! that’s my kinda life, for sure!

Hugs to Kenzi. How’s she doing at dots? we played it twice and the second time she kicked my butt!


Dave Rice March 29, 2011 at 9:52 pm

And hey, I wonder – I’ve seen ads in those glossy magazines they give out at the dispensaries advertising delivery services…anyone know how those get treated, versus commercial storefronts? Are housebound patients going to be prohibited from working with a provider that makes house calls if they live near a church, school, or park?


thinking out loud March 30, 2011 at 8:00 am

AHHH the service that is NOT in the cross hairs of the public yet….. I have a friend who does that. He finds clients/patients on the internet gets all the appropriate information sets up a meeting place in public somewhere….. meets people they verify who they are…. and he does the deal….And yes he is packing a 38 snub nose….nice career choice I told him.
Just wait until a deal goes bad and you get a shootout going at a strip mall in mira mesa…


dave rice March 30, 2011 at 7:19 pm

You really have a friend who comes to deliver prescription medicine packing heat? Wow. I’ve never been associated with these services, but I kinda assumed it would go something along these lines:

1. Get an application from a prospective patient, including their address, patient ID, and doctor’s identification.

2. Verify their identity online, check that their recommendation is valid with their doctor, and go visit them to make sure the human matched the paperwork, without any product on hand.

3. After they’re cleared, allow them to place orders for delivery in the privacy of their home.

I could see myself working a job like this, but I couldn’t see myself running around with a concealed weapon or providing care to someone I hadn’t previously verified was on the up-and-up before getting near them with product on hand.


thinking out loud March 30, 2011 at 7:27 pm

You are very close to what he does…..he solicits the internet for his customer’s via craigslist …..checks ID and is able to ffer his medicine at a reduced rate because he has no storefront OR overhead…pretty sharp huh …..

he sells his overstock that he grows…..

a little on the dangerous side I must admit…..meeting some random person in a strip mall is a matter of time before this clandestine way of operating comes to the attention of the public and police…..

from what he told me it is a loophole that few have explored ….

any comments has anyone head of this method of selling medicinal marijuana ?


Seth March 30, 2011 at 8:28 pm

It was stated at the last OBPB meeting that the initial failure to account for delivery services led to a delay in the County’s medicinal marijuana dispensary regulations being enacted. In the motion that was approved by the OBPB at that same meeting, it was requested that these businesses would be regulated according to new state law.


dave rice March 31, 2011 at 11:50 am

That’s how I used to buy pot when I was a teenager, until I met the guy that worked at BBQ House back in the days when it was across the street – $45 “Sloppy Joe Special” – 2 sloppy joes and an eighth…

In any case, I digress. I’ve never dealt with a delivery service, so I don’t know how they operate. I would think I’d prefer to check someone’s patient status and then visit them in their house without any product – if it didn’t seem safe I wouldn’t go back. And it really doesn’t seem professional to meet someone in a strip mall – you’re not going to be able to bust out a microscope so they can look at the buds, a scale so your customer can confirm weight, or show samples of other product so they have the option to request a different strain next time.

Instead of offering to sell on craigslist (which would probably attract too many kids and non-legitimate patients), I’m more interested in how places like this operate:


thinking out loud March 30, 2011 at 7:34 pm

one more thought : just how do you verify they are on ” the up and up”
I do know people who sell and have for years and years and they are always worried about the people they sell to seems like this is a common problem whether it is street weed or medicinal weed……..


dave rice March 31, 2011 at 12:49 pm

It’s incredibly simple – you provide a copy of a valid doctor’s recommendation, which is verified with the issuing physician before a potential client gets anywhere near any cannabis. Then you check both their state ID and their medical marijuana ID each and every time you do business.

It sounds like your friends are street dealers – doing business in parking lots, advertising to sell pot on craigslist…do these people exist? If so (and I’m doubting it is so), why are you advertising what they do here? It sounds like they could care less about whether who they’re selling to is a legitimate patient or not. And if your ‘friends’ are pretend, what’s the point of baiting here? Are you trying to O’Keefe someone?


thinking out loud March 31, 2011 at 4:06 pm

dude sounds like you know the protocol…its being done …do the math no OVERHEARD…
and don’t insinuate i’m lying you don’t know me…

you self verified in your remarks why would you think its not happening….i had not heard of this until he told me…i think its dangerous.

NO not ” street dealers” READ what I posted again Einstein.


dave rice April 1, 2011 at 7:09 pm

I checked out a couple of the legit businesses that do home delivery, so I’m taking what they say as direct protocol.

Sorry if I implied you’re lying, maybe you just don’t know how it works…if your friend is indeed legit I’m sure he does and has all the paperwork set up to run his collective and has a copy of ID and doctor’s recommendations on file at his home before he goes to meet clients. It seems to me most of the operations I’ve seen require residence verification and will only deliver to the verified personal abode of a patient – I’m thinking it’s an added level of safety in case they get in trouble for potentially distributing to a non-patient.

And yeah, I could see how someone could forge IDs and medical paperwork – that’s always a concern. Some of these delivery services will deliver up to 1/4 pound – that would last most people a looong time if they were really buying for personal use, and at $250/ounce or more it’s getting into the point where the value of your product is worth robbing you over.

As far as reading what you originally wrote, you said “…just how do you verify they are on ” the up and up” I do know people who sell and have for years and years and they are always worried about the people they sell to…” I’m explaining that there’s a simple and concrete way to get that verification. If you don’t understand it that’s perfectly reasonable – you’re not in the business. I don’t understand how airplanes are manufactured, because it’s not my profession. But if your friends don’t understand, it means they’re not conducting business legally – if I did build airplanes, I’d damn well better know how to do it the right way.


Jack March 30, 2011 at 8:50 am

In 1998, or there abouts, I was asked to sit on the original San Diego City Medicinal Marijuana Task Force. After about three meetings I resigned. The task force, a part of the legislative branch of government, was being derailed at every turn by one specific member; a police lieutenant. He told the rest of the panel what the police department would and would not accept. When I questioned why a member of the executive branch of government (the branch the legislative branch gives authority to do what it does), had so much power, I was informed I was a member of the task force by invitation only. I refused to be a part of such a sham, and tendered my resignation. As an aside, this particular lieutenant had been demoted and investigated years before for hiring prostitutes and taking them to the Colorado River as a part of R&R for the officers of his division, and one of the women ended up dead. But I digress…..
The reason I was selected to be on the committee was because I was a part of the legal team representing members of the first co-op being prosecuted by the DA’s office. For those of you interested, someday I will write up the entire fiasco, but in the end, the California Supreme Court dismissed the entire case, and it took me another two years to get the DA’s office to release property back to the co-op, which had been completely bankrupt by the legal effort.
I developed an amicable relationship with the lead officer who applied for the search warrant and lead the raid; a warrant he never wanted and a raid he did not want to lead. You see, my friends, despite operating with the blessing of the SDPD, DA and City Attorney for over two years without incident, the Feds wanted the co-op gone. At first the Feds put up with California’s little attempt at autonomy with the passage of Proposition 215. But when it looked like it was going to actual change things in our fair State, the Feds told local government if they wanted Federal funding (i.e. for the police department) they were going to have to shut down these co-ops and prosecute those who ran them. The same thing happened with states which refused to uphold the maximum speed limit law; their federal highway funds were withheld. So too with states which refused to enforce Federal marijuana laws…over two hundred laws!
I have read the draconian recommendations of the current task force (I believe I read somewhere two of the task force members which were staunch anti-drug advocates…which would make sense if the task force was figuring out what to do with illegal drugs), and found sad amusement from watching the people who we have elected to represent us act like marionettes for an Amerika run by corporations and lobbyists, and a Federal government gone wild, as they fashioned a “compromise” to a delicate situation. I knew long before the final vote, the days of being able to purchase my medicine, one which lowers this diabetics blood sugar, were to be short lived. I know I will still be able to obtain my medication, but it looks like I will have to drive to Otay Mesa or Kearny Mesa to get it. Thank goodness I can drive, I know some of my fellow patients cannot.
My father and I have breakfast every Thursday morning at our favorite spot along the beach, and then we work out his legs with a walk around OB. My father is a Reagan Republican, but he is very open minded about Prop. 215 cannabis. His position is quite simple, it is not hurting anyone, and he is tired of our tax dollars being wasted on something so trivial…health care and education should be taking more of our time and money. This is one Republican with whom I can agree.
A little over a year ago, I was asked to write an editorial for Nug Magazine regarding the police disinformation policy. I have provided the link to the archive, and the editorial can be found on page 52.

Needless to say I am disappointed with the manner in which Prop. 215 has been treated. But then again it took almost 100 years for the Federal government to pass the Civil Rights Act after passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. I suppose patience will be my word for the day.

Peace, Jack


Sunshine April 6, 2011 at 9:23 am

ah, jack. once again you put words to my unidentified gut feelings, perceived insights and suspicions as to what is truly going on in this debate. your input is valuable and right on and I thank the Creator for you. I so appreciate what you have to say and applaud you for speaking up and revealing such truth. once again, the Feds wanna control state interests and will indeed withhold funding for those that don’t comply. such rat bastards. when will the Feds stop blackmailing state government, which, imho, ultimately screws the people who are simply asking for their right to be well.


jettyboy March 30, 2011 at 8:54 am

My first response was ‘Damn”, but after a second or two it went directly to “Fuckers”


Sunshine April 6, 2011 at 9:24 am

8) my sentiments exactly …


RB March 30, 2011 at 8:59 am

Government intrusive regulation of small business….Gee, I have never heard of this before.

Don’t worry once the employees are unionized, special taxes collected, a state board or commission formed, offices and employees added in Sacramento to expand the size of the state, we will have a new drug based industry.


Danny Morales March 30, 2011 at 10:12 am

We can only wish-Given the state of political economy i don’t think so-Given the exeperience, strength and hope of Jack we can only pray. Patience Grasshopper


OB Mercy March 30, 2011 at 11:11 pm

I love living here, but I’ll tell ya, very disappointed how conservative San Diego County is. After living my whole life in liberal Los Angeles….it almost makes me want to go back….almost! This sucks! I’m a patient and it has helped me so much with my arthritis and my hip surgery just two months ago. What a shame that I might have to go get a “dealer” on the street.


Goatskull March 31, 2011 at 7:46 am

I grew up in LA up until 24 years ago and I still head up there frequently. Somehow I don’t think it’s any more “liberal” and here. Just like down here, neighborhood to neighborhood can be the difference between night and day. Despite the politics of elected officials, I think San Diego is a pretty evenly mixed political bag amongst the people who live here and same with LA.


Danny Morales March 31, 2011 at 9:05 am

G.-As with any issue it’s not the politics of the people but rather the politics of captital that has control over state power. This (MMJ) issue should be an object lesson to anyone who wishes to learn more about the nature of our political economy. Despite the changes in demographics and in spite of partisan politics (and the good will of the people) the song remains the same. Its just that the lines are becoming bolder while the shadows dim – D.


Rick Ward aka mr.rick April 1, 2011 at 6:31 am

As a former outlaw and ex-felon it would seem to me the best thing that could happen would be for the police to just not be able to arrest anyone for simple sales from adult to adult.Some times people try to do somethings the are not prepared to accomplish.As every one knows,in order to commit felonious drug crimes you must be of another skin color than your standard Rag reader. I know that last comment doesn’t make alot of sense in O.B. The closest thing we have to a minority population are the homeless.But as an O.B. local and anyone who has lived in O.B. for decades knows, it’s pretty hard to get popped in O.B. for selling weed.Unless you’re just too dumb for reality


Danny Morales April 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Thank you Sunshine for your timely and appropriate post. Following the Commemoration of the Collier Park “riot”, it comes as an indicator of the initiative, creativity and yes, civil disobedience that lies ahead. As we come upon April Fourth and a commemoration of the sacrifice and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ( let’s not forget. Let’s constantly remind ourselves that access to medical care has appeared as one issue that’s manifesting itself in a broad people’s coalition of many issues and organizations. The roots of our movement go deep so I ardently urge each and every one of us to stand vigilant upon the parapet of an injury to one being an injury to all and to fight beneath the banner of Unity.

In Solidarity,


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