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It's been a big week for advocates of medical marijuana.

First, Imperial Beach city councilmembers voted in favor of placing an initiative on the November ballot which, if approved, could open the door for medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in Imperial Beach. Then yesterday, representatives from Mother Earth Cooperative, the only legal dispensary in Southern California, clashed with U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy in her attempts to put an end to medical cannabis.

The buzz surrounding the issue is far from over. In November, voters in at least six cities in San Diego County may be asked whether to allow marijuana dispensaries to open in their city.

Tomorrow, city councilmembers in Solana Beach will consider placing the issue on the ballot. In coming weeks, elected officials in La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Encinitas and Del Mar consider similar initiatives.

However, as supporters continue to push for legal dispensaries, opponents are asking that councilmembers consider all of the negative impacts that could arise as a result of proliferation of dispensaries.

They point to a study conducted in Del Mar which questions the viability of such ordinances. One problem: cities would be forced to charge a much higher sales tax on medical marijuana than on other items. Doing so, reads the study "would require Board of Equalization to cease collecting all sales taxes" in each of the cities.

That's not all. The study also claims that legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries could jeopardize city employees by making them accomplices in the distribution of an illegal substance.

These issues will be discussed at a Solana Beach city council meeting tomorrow at 6pm in city hall.

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Comments

SafeAccessIB July 24, 2012 @ 7:03 p.m.

"Doing so, reads the study 'would require Board of Equalization to cease collecting all sales taxes' in each of the cities."

IB is not included in the "each of the cities" referenced above, there is no additional tax in the Imperial Beach Safe Access ordinance... view it here... www.SafeAccessIB.org

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AVG July 25, 2012 @ 11:55 a.m.

The initiative in Del Mar is already on the ballot! It qualified on the same night as Imperial Beach.

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getdave July 25, 2012 @ 2:33 p.m.

Anyone who has any experience with marijuana knows that it is relatively benign. Compared to alcohol, tobacco, and many prescriptions drugs, it has many benefits and few negative side effects. I often wonder who profits by this plant being illegal. Certainly the drug cartels do, but who else?

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JonBon July 26, 2012 @ 8:25 a.m.

Pot users of course claim its harmless, denial is typical trait of an addict. The Federal Drug Administration has studied smoked marijuana for over 30 years and concludes that it is a highly toxic, addictive, cancer-causing weed.

There are 483 chemicals in marijuana and when smoked or ingested there are 4 to 5 times more tars and cancer causing agents than in tobacco cigarettes.

In 2009, the California Office of Environmental Health and Assessment Science listed marijuana as a cause of cancer. Marijuana is also known to cause respiratory and reproductive problems, mental illness, birth defects and irreversible brain damage.

We support law enforcements’ efforts to close down illegal pot storefronts. Pot shops are illegal and being abused. Del Mar’s recent impact report on permitting pot shops confirms many of the communities’ concerns, the following are some of the reports findings:

1) Selling pot in a storefront, “is not authorized by California medical marijuana laws and violates the federal Controlled Substances Act” and exposes any landlord to asset forfeiture for participating in an illegal activity.

2) The Initiative proposes a unique City tax on medical marijuana higher than the uniform sales tax rate imposed by California law; would require Board of Equalization (“BOE ”) to cease collecting all sales taxes in Del Mar.

3) “Serious Felons” and other convicted criminals are expressly authorized to obtain permits to operate marijuana storefronts and precious Federal grant money provided to the City is jeopardized if the City is required to issue permits authorizing violation of federal law.

4) There are no enforcement tools to ensure the marijuana storefront operations comply with the proposed initiative, nor will it allow the City to charge the storefronts a fee to offset likely needed additional public safety expenditures.

5) The ballot initiative mandates “City employees issue permits authorizing distribution of marijuana, aiding and abetting violation of California and federal criminal laws. The U.S. Attorney has concluded that City employees are not immune from criminal prosecution.”

6) The pot shops’ business permits cannot be revoked or expire.

7) Del Mar business licensing requires that the business NOT be in violation of city, state and federal laws, so even if the ballot initiative was approved by voters shops could not receive a Del Mar business license because their operations violate state and federal law.

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