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Congressman Bob Filner is the first mayoral candidate to endorse San Diego’s Compassionate Use Dispensary Regulation and Taxation initiative. In 17-pages, the initiative outlines how to restore safe access throughout the city while keeping money away from drug dealers and cartels, and proposes generating money for the city’s general fund, by imposing a sales tax of up to 2.5% on every medicinal marijuana transaction.

“It just makes sense to regulate medical marijuana, otherwise, as a city, we limit our ability to conduct oversight,” Filner said. “If medical marijuana is prohibited, the city misses out on valuable revenue, and patients don't have legal access or the ability to manage pain and enjoy regular activities.”

The Patient Care Association, who represents more than 60 medicinal marijuana collectives (many are temporarily closed), joined forces with Citizens for Patient Rightsto qualify the initiative for November’s ballot. To do so, they must gather 62,057 signatures by May 22.

Thanks to the $70,000 they have raised so far, a professional signature campaign, aided by volunteers, began on President’s Day. The initiative's campaign consultant, Cynara Velazquez, is confident they will meet, if not exceed, their signature goal and is pleased with their endorsements so far.

“We haven't started our main push for endorsements yet…but people see the federal and municipal disregard for state law, the will of [our city’s] voters, the desperation facing patients and caregivers, plus the resurgence of the cartel in the vacuum of regulated access, and they want to help,” Velzaquez said.

James Schmachtenberger, chair of the patient care group, said of Filner’s endorsement, “Unlike other local politicians, [Filner] is not afraid to take a stand on important issues like patient access.

The will of the electorate is with us and we look forward to announcing the support of many more local elected officials in the near future.” Several organizations, State Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, and former Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Stephen Downing, have also endorsed the measure

The initiative is set up to pay for itself through a cost recovery measure, making use of existing city departments to implement the more than a dozen operational regulations proposed for the collectives seeking a Compassionate Use Dispensary permit.

Regulations include California Department of Justice background checks for all collective directors and prohibitions on operating within a 600-foot radius of all accredited K-12 grade schools and playgrounds. There is also a 5-year limit on the number of collectives allowed to operate, limiting the first round of permits to those established prior to the initiative’s passage. More information about the measure is available online.

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Comments

CaliforniaCannabisCoalition Feb. 28, 2012 @ 5:54 p.m.

This initiative is NOT supported by the San Diego patients or activists. This initiative is written by a few (15) collectives and is designed to monopolize medical marijuana in San Diego for profit. It is about profit not patients. Call his office and let him know you will not vote for him unless he withdraws his support. Bob phone number is (619) 231-6200

Reader story about Bob Filner endorsement. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...

This initiative is NOT supported by San Diego Norml or California Cannabis Coalition or Californians for Patient Rights. Below are some comments by San Diego Task Force Members

What does the MMJ task force say about the initiative in San Diego,

Alex Kreit says it’s problematic for PCA to control licensing and fees.

“I just can’t, for the life of me, see how that makes sense from a policy perspective,” Kreit says.... “It seems [like] something geared towards [the dispensaries’] interests, not the interests of medical-marijuana patients and people in the community.”

Stephen Whitburn, a Democratic politician who served as the task force’s vice-chair, calls the bill “bad policy.” He says it cuts neighborhood representatives out of the process and sets unreasonable deadlines. He’s also skeptical of PCA’s self-serving accreditation concept.

The group who wrote this initiative is 15 collectives not 60 as reported.

For more information go to California cannabis Coalition or SD Norml Facebook page.

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iandirootz Feb. 28, 2012 @ 10:58 p.m.

This is an amazing initiative put forth by the PCA. The I and I Rootz Collective is proud to be a part of the PCA and officially endorses this initiative. It is sincerely intentioned in the interests of the patients. I've personally participated in the working meetings that helped draft this initiative (which included directors, patients, and members of the community), and at the core of every meeting is safe access for the community.

Directors are patients too and every member of the PCA is committed and dedicated to this cause. They are working class individuals that are tired of the bickering that has gone on long enough in the local MMJ community. Not in a long time has the situation looked so grim. Time to either join in the movement or get out of the way. :) Lets make this happen!! Its time to TAKE our rights back...VIVA THE PEOPLE!!

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ImStoned Feb. 29, 2012 @ 9:27 a.m.

Sounds like A.S.A. chanting re-worded. Bottom line is patients were fine and somewhat dandy until you decided to sell pot for profit. Prop 215 and SB-420 were made to help sick people gather together without the threat of police action being taken upon them for growing "their" medication. But here comes these over-night pot pharmacological ideas to profit from the sick and dying that these prop's were created for, not so you could buy houses and cars. Since you claim it's not for profit, then explain to me how you grow enough to supply your patients? We all know anything over 100 plants will get you 5 years fed time. Yet you still hold on to the idea your helping this community? If you can't supply your patients with the needed medication then your "importing it from another county". and I know the prices you pay and the profit your making. Do the math on it. 1 pound goes for $1.000.00 are you breaking even or making money? Remember it's "NON PROFIT".

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AVG Feb. 29, 2012 @ 10:33 a.m.

I was present at the PCA meetings with the initiative proposal was being considered. I can testify that at least forty collectives participated in these meetings and votes. That said, any decrease in PCA membership has everything to do with the City Attorney and federal crackdown, which has effected every collective and every patient they serve. Unfortunatly, there are almost no storefront collective dispensaries left in San Diego, as a result of federal and local incursion. For this reason, we are proposing an initiative to allow collectives to thrive in our city again.

I fully respect those that would like to meet in non commercial cooperatives to disburse medical marijuana without charge to other members of their group. This initiative, allowing storefront dispensaries does not stop this from occuring. However, the vast majority of patients WOULD like the ability to walk into a secure well-regulated location, purchase their medicine from a known professional source and move on with their lives.

A market for medical marijuana will always exist, and the only way to end the drug war is to regulate this market, bring it and the patients out of the shadows.

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nancyo Feb. 29, 2012 @ 11:55 a.m.

In response to ImStoned, I don't think you understand the history of this issue. MM patients were not "fine" before. Prop 215 and SB 420 were indeed put in place to help insure safe access to medical cannabis, but they did not address local issues. Last year, the SD city council passed their ill-conceived ordinance that would have forced all dispensaries to close. How accessible will medical cannabis be for seriously ill patients if they cannot obtain it safely and legally within their own city? Also, I am mystified by your reference to when dispensaries "decided to sell pot for profit." Where do you think people were getting marijuana before there were legitimate dispensaries offering high quality medical cannabis? The drug cartels have been and continue to be the elements that are selling 'pot for profit'. Dispensaries in California must be run by a collective as a non-profit---they can compensate members who grow and who operate the dispensary, but the collective can't accumulate profits. I can't imagine you have an issue with paying laborers for their labor. Lastly, your reference to 'importing it from another county' makes even less sense than your earlier points. Agricultural centers are generally not located in big cities. Much of California's #1 cash crop is grown outdoors in other counties such as Humboldt. Did you put this in your letter so that some would read 'country' instead of 'county'? Because since Prop 215 was enacted, a cottage industry has sprung up around medical cannabis that has provided Americans with medical cannabis grown by Americans and distributed by Americans. Sadly, hundreds of these jobs have been destroyed by joint action of the federal government and the SD city attorney to shut down the very dispensaries that were compliant with all possible local and state law. It's a no-brainer that the compassionate use initiative being circulated will give some protection to dispensary operators. As MM patients, we want our collective storefronts to stay safe and open. There's nothing in the initiative that gives any collective running a dispensary preferential treatment over another. It will simply make them all safer. I am a MM patient and activist, and I support this initiative. The Cal. Cannabis Coalition does not represent my views. Anyone who reads the facts can learn the truth. PS. The confusion over the number of collectives involved in the creation of the ordinance is likely due to the fact that at the beginning, sixty collectives were involved, but at this point most of the dispensaries have been shut down. The collectives for the most part are still very much here.

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JonBon Feb. 29, 2012 @ 2:52 p.m.

I find it very interesting that both sides, both for and against pot shops, are now publically reporting what we’ve all known and have been saying for many years; that marijuana dealers and users are hiding behind the “medical marijuana” shield via illegal retail storefronts. And that “Medical marijuana” has never really been about the sick, but always about profits and a fixated desire to be stoned in the name of an ailing hangnail or bruised elbow. “Medical marijuana” is a cheeky marketing ruse created by the pro-marijuana lobby to down play its negative effects on the body and bolster the lie that it’s harmless and legit medicine. Recognizing the medi-pot fraud, our communities have successful pushed to prohibit these abusive and illegal marijuana shops in over 90% of the cities in California.

Most importantly to remember is that it doesn’t matter what the outcome of the initiative campaign is, because the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in San Diego is steadfastly closing pot shops, and they said they won’t stop until all the shops are closed. But in a state of denial and blinded by the potential profits the Patient Care Association slugs along wasting our time and lying to the public saying its about sick people. No matter how you package it, pot shops directly violate federal law, and are and will be shut down by law enforcement.

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