San Diego City Council Votes to Repeal Restrictive Land Use Ordinance for Medical Marijuana Consumer Cooperatives

by on September 28, 2011 · 9 comments

in Health, Popular, San Diego

By: Terrie Best / NUG Magazine / September 27, 2011

In the afternoon session of [Tuesday, Sept 27]’s San Diego City Council Meeting, the Council voted 7 to 1 to repeal the restrictive zoning ordinance which, if allowed to pass would have identified zones for medical marijuana collectives to exist but at the same time relegated them to far flung industrial areas and forcing a closure while collectives relocated and embarked on a strenuous processing procedure to re-open in those zones.

City Council’s repeal of the ordinance was forced by a referendum funded by the PCA, a local group of collective operators who advocate for regulations but had issue with the initial closure and tough processing procedure to re-open. The referendum provided two choices to the Council repeal the ordinance or put it on the ballot.

This afternoon council voted for the 2nd and final time to repeal without resorting to a ballot vote.

In response to public comment and as the single nay vote, Marti Emerald, who had exhibited leadership on this issue, convening a Medical Marijuana Task Force last year, rejected ideas that there was political will on the Council to continue to push forward for another ordinance.

Ms. Emerald’s nay vote reflected her position that the issue of the ordinance belongs on the ballot, an endeavor which, if it had passed, would have cost the City upwards of eight-hundred thousand dollars.

Ms. Emerald also suggested mediation between all the interested parties and identified The National Conflict Resolution Center as a possible candidate to help mediate.

San Diego Americans for Safe Access, Vice Chair, Marcus Boyd has made preliminary contact with the NCRC in effort to begin that process.

Although today the City Council ratified the repeal of the restrictive ordinance, the repeal closed off lawful zones in which to relocate. In other words, before the ordinance passed, there were no zones; when the ordinance passed it created zones; and since the passage of the referendum there are again no zones and safe access is in serious jeopardy.

As early as last week the City Attorney’s office filed lawsuits against twelve dispensaries in the city pledging to continue litigation in waves until all dispensaries were shuttered.

The collectives who funded the referendum were planning on following up the repeal with their own voter initiative that would create more reasonable regulations than what the City had originally passed. As of yet, no initiative has been circulated for signatures. The PCA instead is trying to lobbying Council members to enact a resolution temporarily staying code enforcement and the lawsuits filed by the City Attorney.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Brittany Bailey September 28, 2011 at 9:50 am

I’m happy this was repealed. I think that regulating the marijuana industry is perfectly acceptable, but the ordinance wasn’t well thought out and was too harsh.


unWASHEdwalmaRtthONG September 28, 2011 at 10:26 am

Good morning OB. Years ago I visited Medellin, Colombia, & in that city they have differing trades collected in certain neighborhoods. If you want to have your car repaired, you go to one neighborhood because many garages congregated there. Then there might be optometrists on one street, pharmacies on another. I don’t think it was planned that way, the method just evolved. San Diego could move in that direction w/ a little planning. All the churches could be congregated by City Hall because the religions are constantly vying for power. Put all the schools in Pt. Loma. Put all the hotels in Mission Valley. Put all the collectives in OB. Put the restaurants in Mission Beach. Zone & re-zone everything. Control everything all the time forever. Big Brother is watching. The corporation is dead; long live the govorporation.


Jamil Sweet September 28, 2011 at 10:27 am

The City ordinance had three poison pills that destroyed its chance to be effective.

1. The level 3 permit was very expensive and encouraged big money interests rather than the compassionate interest patients needed.
2. The ordinance would have required all existing MCDCs to comply, but gave them no time to get permitted. The result was at least a year where patients would be forced to rely on illegal medicine from Cartel sources.
3. The zoning was too restrictive leaving MCDCs out in gravel pits and heavy industrial areas.

The City Council seems uninterested in resolving this issue, so they are forcing others to do their work for them. It will be a lot of work and everyone will need to stop sniping at each other and focus on what we need. SAFE ACCESS NOW!


OB Mercy September 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Yea!! It was my letter to the City DA that did it, I’m sure. Hey, it could happen!


San Diego Speaks Up September 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm

1) Safe Access is not in jeapordy Terrie Best, Safe Access is better than ever with an estimated 300 stores open now. The referendum from the Patient Care kept access kept alive. More access = more options for patients. More access = safer access.

2)Stop supporting the creation of bad regulations. If ASA really had San Diego patients’ back it would be working with all the other organizations down here already (Citizens for Patient Rights, Patient Care Association, NORML). Instead the news repeatedly shows that the SD ASA crew has scuffled with and even tried to displace their natural medical cannabis allies here.

3)It is a fact that Mother Earth Cooperative in El Cajon was an investment deal put together by Eugene Davidovich using Don Duncan ASA Founder, who lobbied here for restrictive permitting. They stand to make an estimated $50 million dollars per year if they can get the stores in the city closed down
ASA has been accused of the same behavior in other cities of people alleging that they have been threatened or intimidated, Letters have been received by the Freedom Of Information Act showing Don Duncan is indeed building himself a financial empire pot monopoly through restrictive permitting.

5)The worst is yet to come, if letters from other cities are any indication, ASA will try to convince it’s followers that they are helping Safe Access by gathering information and reporting and attempting to get these storefronts closed down.



Terrie Best September 28, 2011 at 11:09 pm

You have been misinformed. Don Duncan does not own or have interest in any collective in San Diego. Neither does Eugene Davidovich or any of the San Diego ASA Board.

San Diego ASA is against ordinances with caps and other unduly restrictive regulations that support a limited number of collectives. That is why we did not support the ordinance written by Jeff Lake and pushed forth by some of the groups in town. The ordinance contained caps and when Lake asked ASA to weigh in and support the ordinance, ASA’s National Policy Shop advised against the caps and a number of other unnecessary restrictions that would limit safe access. Lake chose not to take ASA’s suggestions so we chose not to work on the project. It was the caps and other restrictions that drove this decision.

We do not wish to work on projects which support non-strategic efforts. We are a grassroots patient driven organization and we are very careful about how we use our resources.

In the early days after the Council vote and before the referendum project was funded by the collectives, SDASA and the Stop the Ban campaign met with the PCA, gave them an ordinance without caps and mechanisms to support a limit to collectives, suggesting instead of using funds for a very temporary and expensive referendum, they might get the ordinance on the ballot to solve the problem long term. They did not take our advice and from what I’ve heard, they now do not have the funds to put any ordinance on the ballot ((ASA’s or the restrictive Lake ordinance). I feel the funds used toward the referendum could have been used for a ballot initiative and for this reason it missed the mark.

ASA has worked with many groups; we collaborated with Canvass for a Cause and over a dozen drug policy organizations including CA NORML, dozens of collectives, faith groups and the media in the Stop the Ban Campaign. We also activated thousands of patients, involving them in this issue. The campaign cost very little money – we are careful to be strategic and place resources in efforts that will move the ball down the court in meaningful ways.

The ordinance ASA supports is backed up by an extensive survey of local officials and a continuous tracking of regulatory mechanisms and how they affect patients. It is defend able in court and was submitted by SDASA to the City’s Rules Committee in early summer. By law, it must go before the Council but they are not very willing to work with advocates at this time and it is uncertain if this issue will be taken up again in the near future.

A sample of the ordinance is available on ASA Nationals website here:


doug porter September 29, 2011 at 7:58 am

Warning! If the children who have been participating in the infighting between the various MJ sects want to turn this into a battlefield, all you will end up banned from commenting here. If you have documentation about accusations that you are making (San Diego Speaks Up) please send them to us. We’ll print them. No more he says-she says BS.
Thank you for attention to this matter.


Jamil Sweet September 29, 2011 at 10:13 am

Thank you, Doug,
There is no need for spurious accusations, I applaud your keeping the article responses on track rather than continuing an unfortunate diversion.


Terrie Leigh Relf October 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm

One of the questions I have, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Marti Emerald used to be like Turko for a time? I remember she did some of those proverbial cutting-edge stories. Then she disappeared and reappeared as a completely different person (or so it seems to me). Not that I’m tracking her career per se, but I’m just surprised that she would be so adamant.


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