This November vote no to permitting pot shops

In case you think compassionate people are behind the initiative to permit pot shops in Del Mar, Solana Beach, Lemon Grove and Imperial Beach, let us set the record straight.This November you’ll be voting on a measure that in Del Mar (Proposition H) and Solana Beach (Proposition W) was financed and facilitated by a group of current and prospective marijuana shop owners.In areas where these shops have proliferated, compassion was not the underlying motive. According to Scott Chipman from San Diegans for Safe Neighborhoods, “We have learned from law enforcement, businesses and community members that the pot shops are a front for profiteering and drug abuse. They also create problems for surrounding businesses, like loitering, nuisance behavior, even crimes of opportunity since pot shops are a cash business with an easy-to-sell product.”

Because of the seriousness of this proposed measure, Del Mar prepared a 40-page impact report of violations and repercussions. Here are just some of the findings:

• The measure violates state and federal drug laws.

• It also violates California sales tax laws.

• The measure allows convicted felons to operate pot shops.

• The measure has no requirements for recordkeeping, audits, landlord protection or parking provisions.

• If the measure passes, city employees will be in violation of federal law and could face federal prosecution.

• Pot shop permits cannot be revoked or expire, according to the proposed measure.

• Because it violates federal drug laws, the measure would jeopardize city federal grant funds.

• The measure allows six shops to open in Del Mar and twice that number in Solana Beach.

The measure is clearly illegal, says Del Mar City Attorney Bob Mahlowitz. As written, these pot shop ballot initiatives “contain misrepresentations and illegal and improper uses, meaning it may be beyond the power of a city to enact.” He adds that it doesn’t matter if the measure passes because residents vote it in. “It can’t be done,” Mahlowitz says. “It’s illegal.”

Which is why federal law enforcement officials are shuttering pot shops across the state, including San Diego, as well as those cities that attempted to craft permitting ordinances. In essence, this ballot measure is a waste of money and time.

So how did the measure make it to the ballot in the first place? State election code states that if 10 percent of a city’s registered voters sign a petition regarding an ordinance, it must go to a public vote, even if it is found to contain illegalities.

A loophole of sorts in our state election code got the measure on the ballot. In November, we need to vote it off.

For legal reasons and for the best interests of our neighborhoods, vote no to permitting pot shops.


Joe Kellejian, Solana Beach mayor

Carl Hilliard, Del Mar mayor



Filed Under: Community Commentary


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  1. Keith says:

    This was a very clear and honest assessment of the problems with trying to permit an illegal action, such as selling pot from a storefront. I agree the proposed pot permitting propositions is poorly written and illegal. Pot shops are utilized by healthy young people to buy and resell pot to friends. I don’t believe this is the type problems we want to introduce into our neighborhoods.

  2. Mocha says:

    I agree with this Op-Ed, vote No to permitting shops. I don’t support pot shops due to the following personal experience I’ve had with them. I work in a very small office building here in the north county that has 7 office suites. Over the last 3 years, there have been 4 different pot shops there. Currently there are 2 of them operating.

    The city I work in does not allow pot shops, so these businesses are operating illegally without any permits.

    The pot shops have a significant negative affect on the businesses in our building as well as the surrounding neighborhood. There are people, mostly young men, constantly coming and going as well as loitering in groups day and night in and around the pot shops. They smoke continuously, both cigarettes and marijuana in our parking lot and other shared spaces. My office becomes overcome by the smell of marijuana almost every day making it very difficult to work and conduct business. We can never leave our door open because of the smell as well as for our safety. They leave trash and cigarette butts in our parking lot and in our landscaping and our shared bathrooms have been vandalized many times which has become very expensive to repair.

    On 4 occasions, the pot shops have been burglarized. Their windows have been smashed and everything inside stolen. Most recently, in July, there was an armed hold up in the middle of the day. That closed the pot shop down for a few days as the FBI investigated but they opened right back up after that. The owners of the pot shops obviously do not want to call attention to themselves, so each time something like this happens, it has been the other business owners in the building who have alerted the police and authorities, not them. It is extremely scary to come to work each day knowing that we are sharing our space with dangerous criminals and could ourselves become a victim of a crime!

    One of the businesses in our building is a psychiatrist who treats families, many with young children. He has lost many clients due to the pot shops and is very upset and concerned about it. Patients have found our office building to no longer be a safe place to take their children because of the questionable characters loitering and the marijuana smoke they have to walk through coming and going from the office. One child was threatened and almost attacked by a large dog sitting with his owner outside one of the pot shops.

    The owners of these businesses are not upstanding citizens who want to comply with regulations and the law. It is a waste of our time and money to try and regulate them. They will continue to operate wherever and however they feel like.

    Vote against pot shops.

  3. Jon Jon says:

    Vote No on marijuana storefronts, no on prop. H and W!Prior to the beginning of the federal crackdown on illegal marijuana storefront starting in October 2011, I’ve remembered the following two media accounts of the fraud occurring at marijuana storefronts and with the issuance of marijuana recommendations:

    1) On July 8th 2011 Upland City Councilmember Ken Willis documented in an Op-Ed how an undercover Upland police officer walks into a pot shop, gets information ofdoctors willing to write a recommendation, visits doctor who doesn¹t checkblood pressure, temperature, or anything, and walks out with a recommendation to return and buy pot at the shop.

    2) A October 1st, 2011 article in the News Tribune documented an investigative reporter in Tacoma, Washington who decided to get a ‘medical’ marijuana card. The description of his ‘medical exam’ reveals how simple it is to get. According to the reporter, he picked the doctor’s office, CannaPath Medical, from an ad in the Thrifty Nickel. When he arrived at the clinic, he found that it shared a reception area with a marijuana dispensary called the Rainier Wellness Center. Instead of Newsweek magazine and Sports Illustrated, the lobby offered Marijuana Times and Northwest Leaf. As he waited, he was treated to a video which claimed that George Washington smoked pot and that the Declaration of Independence was printed on paper made of hemp (Neither claim is true and neither has anything to dowith medicine).

    When it was time for his exam, he was led to a room and placed in a chair facing a computer monitor. Instead of a doctor, a nurse practitioner greeted him from the monitor through Skype. She said she was “working remotely from her home.”

    After a very short interview about the reporter’s shoulder, he expressed a preference for prescription medicine to treat his pain. The nurse asked him if he had ever tried cannabis. When the reporter said no, she said, “Well, some people find it gives them a great deal of relief.” She then said “Well, good luck to you . . . I’m sure you will find you get something out of it . . . someone will be here in a minute with the forms.” The screen turned black.

    Five minutes later the reporter walked out of the clinic with three copies of his authorization to legally possess up to a pound and a half of marijuana and grow as many as 15 plants (This is a huge amount of marijuana).

    Later, when the reporter visited a med marijuana dispensary, he was offered a free medicated candy bar – a “Detonator” – as a gift for being a first-time patient.


  4. Royal says:

    I’ve heard from my teenagers about their friends’ pot recommendations they got skyping online. Did you know with this recommendation for pot you can get as much as you want from pot shops and for an unlimited amount of time? This kid with the recommendation will have it for the rest of their life! This poor naïve kid. And of course he/she will be popular at school, as the go to guy to buy pot from. This is really wrong, and makes me angry with these people who are trying to get pot shops along the coast.

    I’m glad Mayor Hilliard and Kellejian outlined the problems with these props, I hope and pray they don’t pass.

  5. Dee says:

    Vote no to profiteering pot shops, they are illegal and harmful. Protect Del Mar and Solana Beach from out of town pot shop operators.

  6. grovian says:

    I say yes to Marijuana Dispensaries. The quicker we legalize this, the quicker our “War on Drugs” will stop sucking taxpayers dry. We pay $150,000.00 a year to house one person that had 2 marijuana cigarettes in their possession, times 15,000 people. Look at Prohibition. How did that work out for everyone? Well, it made the rum runners and the Mafia rich, which is exactly is happening now. Del Mar and Solana Beach, you already have so many pot smokers there, why not enforce it on your beaches? Why, because it’s bad business. You may not have strip joints but here in Lemon Grove, it apparently okay to welcome them here along with head shops. Why not let Lemon Grove make some tax money? We have 25,000 people here at low to moderate income. Let us have a recreation center. We could really use more of a tax base. If the rules and regulations are enforced, there should not be a problem.

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