San Diego Campaign to Protect Medical Cannabis Draws Wide Support

by on March 11, 2011 · 25 comments

in Civil Rights, Health, Popular

On March 28th, the San Diego city council will be voting on an ordinance that, if passed as written, will close down every medical cannabis facility in the city and would make it virtually impossible for them to reopen. In response, the San Diego chapter of Americans for Safe Access partnered with Canvass for a Cause to launch the “Stop the Ban” campaign in order to educate the public about the ordinance and to mobilize grassroots opposition.

Since beginning the campaign in February, “Stop the Ban” has garnered a long list of endorsements including The Drug Policy Alliance, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Cal NORML, California Church IMPACT, the San Diego Renters’ Union, and many others.

Using Canvass for a Cause’s proven grassroots field organizing techniques, an organized patient outreach, and a traditional volunteer-based political campaign, the “Stop the Ban” campaign has collected over 2,000 letters to the city council from constituents who are urging them to amend the current ordinance to allow for reasonable access to medical cannabis for the patients who rely on it.

“We decided to make this campaign a letter-writing campaign because a handwritten letter is the gold standard of constituent communication for a councilperson and we knew that we could get massive amounts of people involved on this issue. We set out to send the city council more letters on this issue that they have ever received on any issue, to our knowledge we’ve already crossed that threshold.” said Ben Cisneros, a senior organizer on the campaign. “We can’t guarantee our campaign will be successful, but what we can guarantee is that if the city council approves this ordinance, they will have done so over the most unprecedented outpouring of public opposition to an ordinance in the history of San Diego.”

Cisneros continued, “If this ordinance passes as written – and it may – every collective in the city would close and it would be virtually impossible for any to reopen.  A best case scenario would find San Diego with 3 to 5 collectives in the far flung industrial areas of the city.  A realistic worst case would find the city council and planning commission enforcing a ban by not approving any of the process 4 permits that are required.”

You can help the campaign today by writing a handwritten letter to your city council person, volunteering at the campaign headquarters, or helping spread the word about the impending de-facto ban.

To get involved in the campaign or for more information on the largest effort organized in San Diego surrounding the medical marijuana issue, visit the Stop the Ban campaign website – – and a Facebook Page –

On March 28th the campaign will be holding a Rally and March that will start at the Federal Courthouse at noon and will lead directly into the city council meeting where everyone will testify against this overly restrictive ordinance that undermines the most vulnerable members of our community.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Eugene Davidovich March 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Thanks for the great coverage of the Stop the Ban campaign. The community is united and determined to protect communities like Ocean Beach and its most vulnerable residents from the efforts to take away a medicine that helps many maintain a normal life. Thanks to Americans for Safe Access, Canvass for a Cause, all the Coalition Partners, as well as all the volunteers for organizing the largest public outcry the City Council has ever seen on this issue. You are helping change the political reality in San Diego.


Terrie Best March 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Thank you so much for covering this important campaign. The cannabis community needs as much exposure as possible and OB Rag really stepped up for us.

Terrie Best
San Diego Americans for Safe Access


Ben Cisneros March 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Thanks OB Rag for covering this story! There are a lot of people working really hard on this issue and it is always great to have help getting the word out!


herb folks March 12, 2011 at 8:52 am

Ms. Best represents anti-herb factions, as well as pro-herb groups. Which is she really about? Why do the government agencies who fund the programs she shills for, abhor medical marijuana?


doug porter March 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm

this comment by “herb folks” is so typical of the silliness that abounds with some of the 420 types. there was absolutely no reason to attack anybody here, but because somebody said something to somebody else some time ago (or something equally silly) , they feel motivated to use this forum for an attack that makes all 420 advocates look bad.
this is why pot will never be legal.


Terrie Best March 12, 2011 at 10:42 am

I see that you are still part of the problem, Dale. If you are referring to Stepping Stone of San Diego, where I hold a volunteer Board position and have for three years, you are dead wrong about their position on medical cannabis.

Stepping Stone is a cutting edge treatment facility which uses harm reduction and evidence-based modalities to treat addiction to any drug which the client deems harmful and not many deem cannabis harmful.

Stepping Stone is not anti-cannabis, in fact they are pioneers in endeavoring to establish a policy where clients would be able to use cannabis while in treatment for opiates or other pharma drugs and I have helped drive that effort.

They are a great organization serving the gay and lesbian population, many clients suffer from AIDs and with it, human wasting syndrome. Cannabis is sometimes the only treatment for these folks and they do not deserve your rancor, Dale.

Please do not attack them or me. You should focus on the cause.

Terrie Best


Dr. Emmett Smith March 12, 2011 at 10:54 am

The hard work and consistent effort of Canvass for a Cause and all of the other groups that have striven together to defeat this ordinance (which is nothing more than an attempt to circumvent Prop 215, and by it’s nature a violation of the intent of that law, making it unconstitutional in California) has been as impressive as it has been heartwarming. I hope that in the near future, we will get ALL candidates on the record as to their intentions with regard to MMJ and use this grassroots-developed power to endorse or oppose candidates from city councils on up to the governorship in hopes of reducing the number these kinds of legal situations. All the best to the vast number of people who have worked hard to fight against SD Counties attempt to restrict reasonable access to legal and effective treatments. Thank you, to all.


Larry Sweet March 12, 2011 at 10:44 pm

I am a 20 year resident of OB and have never been prouder of our Rag. Too may papers are more than happy to vomit the same old Reefer Madness without checking the facts.

Thanks, OB Rag for your continuing efforts to widen the discussion.


RB March 13, 2011 at 10:04 am

What,,,,,,,do we have too much government intrusion?
Are some big government promoters upset when their pet projects are regulated?
Gee, how ironic is this situation?


doug porter March 13, 2011 at 10:45 am

There’s a difference–not that you could see it–between sensible regulation and acts of government that exist merely to enforce the moral positions of the elite.


RB March 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm

In California, we have over 200 state boards and commissions with over two thousand political appointees, all making rules and regulations without their election by the people. Yeah, all the thousands of regulations in California are sensible until they effect your federally illegal pot. Once again, how ironic is this situation.


mr fresh March 13, 2011 at 10:53 am

In 2007 there were over 850,000 marijuana arrests. The United States has only 5% of the worlds population but imprisons 25% of its prisoners. The federal government spent over $15 billion on the drug war in 2010, or a rate of $500 a second. Our country is 66% non-Hispanic white people but 70% of our prisoners are non-white.


Dr. Emmett Smith March 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm

RB, I’d be hard pressed to identify anyone who thinks that “all the thousands of regulations in California are sensible “. On the other hand, what possible point are you making? That it’s far more important whether you personally hate the Pro 215 law – which is, as I understand it, not a regulation passed by some non-elected official, but a law passed by the people of this state during an election – is that it helps 10s of thousands of people with disabling and debilitating disease from needless and pointless suffering, simply on the basis that – what? Does it matter hat you have some obscure moral hangup about people getting appropriate healthcare? That people like myself can live more normal lives by using a plant that you don’t approve of? Does that fact offend you?

Perhaps you feel that no citizen should stand up against bad laws , as well as against regulations such as these which are deliberate attempts to skirt the law, that do nothing to help the people and which actively do the people harm. If that’s the case, you should stand shoulder to shoulder with those who have long agreed with you – the Tories. Standing up against bad law and bad regulation is something of a tradition here in the US. From the Declaration of Independence to Brown vs. the Board of Education, changing bad law and holding accountable government bodies that reach beyond their mandate has been at the basis of the US itself since it was formed.

Speaking as a retired physician (due to disability) who has studied the uses of the plant extensively and who has replaced multiple dangerous medications in my own care by using vastly smaller amounts of cannabis – which is a far less toxic and dangerous course of treatment and has worked far more effectively – your comments make no sense. The only thing that’s ironic is that folks like yourself seem to feel some sort of vague moral superiority by attempting to deny safe and reasonable healthcare to sick people. Millions of Californians agreed on this law. Equally, millions are against the Council’s proposed regulation, which we all know is a smokescreen for trying to skirt Prop 215. If you don’t like what we’re doing, there’s no shortage of opportunities to lobby against it. Ironic? Only to you.


Frank Gormlie March 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm

As our old young friend Lane used to say : ^bump


Sarah March 13, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I’ll see your ^ and raise you one ^

(Hi Lane!)


Sunshine March 13, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Dr. Smith, thank you for speaking up so well on behalf of any patients’ right to use what they determine to be the best and least harmful course of treatment for their own health care.

the healthcare system in this country is completely out of whack and getting more difficult to obtain without $$$$ and/or a congressional position. Even though I purchase 2 different healthcare policies I was unable to obtain medical care in the past 2.5 weeks due to the massive control the insurance companies have over my personal health care.

What I did not have difficulty with was getting my Rx filled at a local MMJ dispensary. if it weren’t for that, I would have had to check myself into a local hospital once again and run up more medical bills that I simply cannot afford to pay.

When will ‘those that oppose’ see that my medical treatment is MY choice, not theirs. I thank God for the sound reasoning found in Prop 215. Herbs have been used for wellness effectively for thousands of years in other countries. why do some people in this country continue to limit their care to pharmaceuticals that cause more side effects than good at times in order to generate more profit for the out of control pharmaceutical companies?

Closing the dispensaries would be equivalent to closing all Rite Aids, CVSs, Walgreens, and all other pharmacies where people get their medications, imho.

it’s sheer madness to remove any available treatment based upon the moral judgments of the ignorant.


A.W. Maris March 13, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Thank you, Sunshine, for making this issue concrete in a very personal way. No amount of intellectual or moral posturing can shake the foundations of your experience. Let me offer whatever help I can to resolve this issue for the benefit of yourself and your fellows on the point of the spear. Fight on!


Sunshine March 14, 2011 at 1:17 am

yeah, right A.W. now that I’ve come forward and spoke my truth, I suspect, from what I’ve seen in other issues here in SD, its only a matter of time before the strong-armed rat-bastard haters take aim. I’m not paranoid, just able to clearly see what goes on in this town.


RB March 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm

So, when did I say I was against medical uses for cannabis, Dr Smith?
I am not against real medical relief of pain and suffering using cannabis.
I am not against medical uses of any chemical compound, natural or synthetic.
I am a chemist without a moral or religious stance on any chemical compounds.

However, I am against phony prescriptions and phony ailments, and phony storefronts and phony co-ops dispensing drugs.


mr fresh March 13, 2011 at 4:47 pm

oh, horse poop! let’s have an imaginary conversation with RB. maybe we can find out what’s troubling the poor soul….

OB: “Nice day today.”
RB: “Nice day to break a union, maybe.”
OB: “Beautiful sunset tonight.”
RB: “It’d be nicer if it wasn’t for all those government regulations banning pollution and costing thousands of real American their jobs.”
OB: “You know, you kinda sound like a troll. We noticed that you patrol all the websites around town and leave the same kindsa comments over & over.
RB: “Help! Help! I’m being persecuted. Oh, the pain! The agony!

The message here folks is to never mud wrestle with a pig. You end up getting all messy and the pig likes it too much.


Danny Morales March 13, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Def B. Fresh!-This weeks winner of the “Catch a Troll” award for most innovative catch, most quotable display and most gentle release.


Eugene Davidovich March 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm

This article has sparked a great discussion and a wonderful opportunity for everyone to weigh in and discuss the issue thoroughly.

I think it is important to remember that at the heart of this issue is the Compassionate Use Act which the voters of California passed 15 years ago and the patients whom it affects. The voters of this great state saw back then the failure of the Federal government on this issue. They saw the damage the prohibition of this medicine was causing to the thousands of Californian’s who used it.

If the city is allowed to pass the ordinance as currently written, although it may satisfy the fears of a few prohibitionists in our community, it will undoubtedly at the same time undermine the health and welfare of the most vulnerable in the city. It would also go directly against the thousands of voting San Diego residents who are paying attention to this issue.

The 28th of March will be an important day for San Diego, I am hopeful that ALL the patients who rely on this medicine and do not want to see it eradicated from Ocean Beach and the dozens of other communities in San Diego, will come out that day and speak out against the ordinance as written.

There are three simple amendments that everyone should be asking for that day:
1. Allow for all commercial and for all industrial uses to be included in the proposed ordinance.
2. Adjust the sensitivity use restrictions to comply with state law (AB2650); 600 ft from schools.
3. Allow Medical Cannabis Facilities to operate “by right” identical to land use requirements imposed on pharmacies.


Dr. Emmett Smith March 13, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Sunshine: Hang in there, my friend. I’ve been there.

Eugene brings up a good point — singling out MMJ dispensaries does no one any good. Our children, who anti MMJ individuals claim to be protecting, have more less to alcohol and tobacco than they do to cannabis, simply because it isn’t properly regulated. It is substantially less toxic than caffeine, which kills about 1000 people each year, usually due to heart arrhythmias. Deaths from cannabis? Zero, over the last 6000 years or so.

I cannot travel, and will not be there in person on the 28th. I write letters and emails, and I will be with those who are fighting for the right to rational medicine in spirit if not body.

On that note, Eugene – I know that you have all this spare time on your hands (yeah, right…!). Would you look into whether it might be possible for individuals like myself to attend meetings via internet? It’s not difficult, with basic software. I have what is necessary on my end to receive and participate. Thanks, my friend.


Rick Ward March 14, 2011 at 5:00 am

Pot prohibition in O.B.! Give us a break.It has worked so well over the years maybe we should just go back to paraquat and gas weed.When I was a hype I would just wrap straw from the feed store in San Ysidro in mexican newspapers from T.J. and sell it to the “Swabs”.Since I’m no longer sending all my money to Mexico I could be filthy rich.


ed herst March 24, 2011 at 3:08 pm

All this baloney about “sick” people needing their “medicine” is such a crock. I live near a dispensary & it has degraded this neighborhood. I have yet to see ANYONE who looks at all “sick” going into it. What I DO see is perfectly healthy 18 to 35 y.o.’s in groups of 2, 3 & 4 usually going in & out. This is 99%. I’ve never seen anyone over 40 going there. There was ONE young guy with a cane once. So apparently we have an epidemic of “sick” young people in the city. They can run (literally) into dispensaries but other than that they’re as ill as can be.


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