Pot shops to go on ballot in 2014

ENCINITAS — The City Council voted unanimously to place a controversial initiative on the city’s 2014 general election ballot. 

Mayor Jerome Stocks was absent.

Voters will get to weigh in on a medical marijuana initiative two years after neighboring North County cities get to cast their votes.

In July the Del Mar and Solana Beach city councils voted to place similar initiatives on the upcoming ballot.

Backers of the ballot initiative, sponsored by Patient Care Association, turned in signatures in late July in an attempt to get the initiative on the November 2012 ballot. The intent is to treat people with serious medical issues according to supporters.

The County Registrar of Voters certified the signatures on Aug. 8, just two days before the deadline for this year’s ballot.

City Attorney Glenn Sabine told council members that voting to put the measure on the 2014 ballot would serve as a “wait and see” approach as Encinitas can see what happens with the neighboring cities initiatives.

Sabine told the council that it has the option to file an action to remove it from the ballot or file a post-election challenge seeking a judicial determination of validity of the initiative.

More than a dozen speakers addressed the council on the controversial topic. The majority was opposed to the initiative, but several focused on the medical uses of marijuana.

Lance Rogers, a longtime resident said he supported the initiative. “We’re talking about marijuana as medicine, not for recreational use,” he said. As a civil rights attorney, he said he disagreed with the “wait and see” approach. “I agree it’s changing, but the will of the people of California is clear. Cities have the ability to regulate dispensaries.”

Physician Bob Blake said medical marijuana patients needed a convenient and safe place to obtain their medicine, rather than driving long distances to a dispensary or “wait for their connection to show up in some dark alley.”

Judy Strang, a resident who has been active in drug prevention disagreed. She said she is a compassionate person who is appalled by the profit motive of storefront “pot shops.” “There’s money to be earned here and that’s what it’s about,” she said. “This is a very misguided initiative.”

Nancy Logan, a 25-year resident said it was clear that legal access to pot was not welcome in the city. “Drugs that aid in illness are dispensed in a pharmacy, not in a marijuana dispensary,” she said.

“I don’t want it in my city and I don’t want it in my sister cities,” Kathleen Mackay said.

“The voters need to make their case,” Councilman James Bond said.

Many in attendance at the meeting were certain that residents would not approve the initiative. “I believe when we wait and see, what we will see is that dispensaries will not be allowed,” Evelyn Hogan said.

The initiative would limit storefront dispensaries to commercial and industrial areas and levy a 2.5 percent tax on retail transactions. It also would establish security measures and hours of operation and require licensing by existing city departments.

“I know there’s a lot of complexity surrounding the legalities of medical marijuana,” Sabine told the council. State and federal law conflict over medical marijuana. “Under the existing law there are no guarantees,” he said.

 

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  1. Malcolm Kyle says:

    A kindly reminder:

    Marijuana’s prohibition, like all other similar futile attempts at curbing “man’s desire to alter his consciousness”, has been rooted in hate, paranoia, racism, misinformation, half-truths, and outright lies. It’s your right to disagree, just please try to do it factually.

    There is no debate: Marijuana is absolutely safer than alcohol, tobacco, and all prescription and over-the-counter medicines. On the other hand, Prohibition is a costly nightmare, and one that enriches both criminals and corrupt politicians.

    Legal or not, millions of citizens are already using marijuana. What many sane people are now proposing, is to take the criminal aspect out of it, collect revenues from its sale, and instead of spending millions of precious tax dollars on doomed-to-failure enforcement, put it’s ‘taxable income’ to work for the whole community.

  2. change4encinitas says:

    This is a federal issue. If Marijuana does have a medical benefit as many claim (which I don’t question), then pressure the FDA to make it a legalized drug and dispense it through pharmacy. No prescription = no marijuana.

    my 2 cents

  3. Sully says:

    ‘Medical marijuana’ is a cheeky marketing ploy created by the pro-pot lobby to down play its negative effects on the body and bolster the lie that it’s harmless. There has never been, nor ever will be, an approved medicine that is smoked. This is the 21st century; we understand how inhaling smoke into our lungs can’t be healthy. It’s one thing if an adult wants to make an unwise decision to smoke marijuana, but to have the pro-pot lobby bombard us, especially naïve young people, with false claims that marijuana is harmless is dangerous and appalling.

    MARIJUANA DOES CAUSE CANCER – FACT: The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment of the California Environmental Protection Agency added marijuana smoke to the Proposition 65 list effective June 19, 2009. Marijuana smoke was considered by the Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) of the OEHHA Science Advisory Board at a public meeting held on May 29, 2009. The CIC determined that marijuana smoke was clearly shown, through scientifically valid testing according to generally accepted principals, to cause cancer.

    During the city council hearing the pot shop owner and leader of the ballot initiative said pot is totally harmless, cures 1,000 different ailments, and cures cancer. Wow, really? This pot shop owner is taking a page from the Big Tobacco playbook, lying and making asinine statements to cover up the honest and real harms of pot. The people in Encinitas are smarter than that, how disrespectful.

    City attorney’s call this ballot initiative is illegal, poorly written, and will never be implemented.

  4. Keith says:

    Dispensaries are illegal and being abused. Marijuana dispensaries are back door legalization, dispensaries don’t and never will follow the law, so why are we trying to regulate an illegal use? Reading and understanding state law illustrates how marijuana dispensaries are illegal. A quick side note, federal law clearly states that any cultivation, distribution, possession or use of marijuana violates federal law – even for medical purposes. Nowhere in California’s laws does it mention storefront marijuana dispensaries. Additionally, the State Attorney General Medical Marijuana Guidelines state, “Although marijuana dispensaries have been operating in California for years, dispensaries, as such, are not recognized under the law.” Using the State Attorney General Medical Marijuana Guidelines it shows how the operations of marijuana dispensaries are violating state laws:

    • First, the guidelines say “…democratically controlled and are not organized to make a profit for themselves, but dispensary customers who walk in do not have a say on how the dispensary is operated and the selling of marijuana in commercial retail settings financially benefit the owners/operators of the dispensary.
    • Second, the guidelines say “The earnings and savings of the business must be used for the general welfare of its members for equal distribution to members in the form of cash, property, credits for services.”, but dispensaries do not distribute cash to the members who are not employees/owners.
    • Third, the guidelines say, “…should be a closed-network of marijuana cultivation and consumption with no purchase or sales to or from non-members.”, although any qualified patient can walk into a dispensary, become a member by filing out forms and buy marijuana.
    • Fourth, the guidelines say “Collectives Should Acquire, Possess, and Distribute Only Lawfully Cultivated Marijuana.”, but dispensaries don’t supply authorities with information on where or how the marijuana is grown.
    • Fifth, the guidelines say primary caregiver must have “…assumed responsibility for the housing, health and safety of the patient.”, but dispensary operators/owners serving as the ‘primary caregivers’ obviously aren’t also responsible for the housing, health, and safety of all their customers.

    In addition it’s quite telling to hear from Reverend Scott T. Imler, co-author of Proposition 215, who has expressed his concerns with the runway abuse occurring. He said, “We created Prop. 215 so patients would not have to deal with the black market profiteers. But today it is all about the money. Most of the dispensaries operating in California are a little more than dope dealers with store fronts.” – Alternatives Magazine, Fall 2006, issue 39. Reverend Scott T. Imler also said, “When we wrote Proposition 215, we were selling it to the public as something for seriously ill people… It’s turned into a joke. I think a lot of people have medicalized their recreational use.”- San Gabriel Valley Tribune, February 15, 2007.

    State law allows patients and primary caregivers to associate together in order to collectively or cooperatively cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, the law doesn’t create an argument for a commercial enterprise. The law is the law and it must be upheld.

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