Imperial Beach refuses to implement recommendations of the Grand Jury By: Eugene Davidovich, Marcus Boyd (San Diego Americans for Safe Access)

The San Diego ASA News Brief version of this story may be seen and heard by clicking here... http://www.vimeo.com/13051299

In 1996 California voters passed proposition 215 which legalized marijuana for medical use in the state. Back then, our county officials vowed to fight against medical marijuana, and fourteen years later, in the County of San Diego this fight is still in full swing.

Legitimate state card carrying patients are still arrested for possessing and cultivating small amounts of their own medicine. The San Diego District Attorney’s office is still prosecuting cases where patients are clearly following state law, and council members in cities like Imperial Beach are thumbing their noses at patients and most recently at the County Grand Jury.

On June 7, 2010 the San Diego County Grand Jury issued a report calling on all municipalities within the County of San Diego to move forward with regulating, licensing, and monitoring a limited number of medical marijuana dispensaries.

It did not take long for the City of Imperial Beach to respond. In less than 30 days Gary Brown, the City Manager wrote his recommendations to the Imperial Beach City Council urging them to disagree with the report and call the Grand Jury’s recommendations unreasonable and not to be respected.

Mr. Brown writes, “the recommendation is unreasonable for the City to implement at present because: (1) the Anaheim case is still pending; (2) the initiative to legalize marijuana is still pending; and (3) any ordinance could require Coastal Commission approval and possibly voter approval.

Mr. Brown’s logic and reasoning here is clearly fundamentally flawed. Regarding the Anaheim case, it is apparent that Mr. Brown has not been paying any attention to the case or even the San Diego County own counsel who just this week said that the Anaheim case would more than likely determine that cities could not ban dispensaries.

Regarding the November Initiative, in his report Mr. Brown writes, “In November voters will decide whether marijuana should be legalized for medical and non-medical purposes”, and this in his opinion will somehow have an effect on medical patients. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, as the November initiative will not legalize medical marijuana. Proposition 215 and Senate Bill 420 already did that, and the November initiative does not affect the current medical marijuana laws in California.

His third and final reason for why the Grand Jury recommendations should not be respected and are unreasonable is that adopting any kind of regulation may require a vote from the people and approval from the coastal commission. Either Mr. Brown truly has a passionate hate against medical marijuana or he is extremely misinformed.

There are multiple cities and counties in the State of California who have successfully adopted regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries. These cities and counties did not need approval from the coastal commissions or any more votes from their citizens to provide a safe place for patients to obtain their medicine. In Oakland for example, there has even been a decrease in crime in the neighborhoods where regulated facilities exist.

The most shocking and draconian part of Mr. Brown’s letter was the following; “The Grand Jury report did not indicate that it interviewed any person specifically in Imperial Beach, did not indicate that it ascertained that anyone in Imperial Beach is a legitimately qualified medical marijuana patient, and did not demonstrate that anyone in Imperial Beach who had a medical need for marijuana was unable to obtain it. Additionally, Imperial Beach residents could likely obtain medical marijuana in other locations”.

His assertion that in order for Imperial Beach to regulate the dispensaries, the Grand Jury would have had to prove to them that there are legitimate patients in the city is absurd.

There are hundreds of legitimate medical marijuana patients in the City of Imperial Beach, and a number of them have in the past lobbied the council on this issue. Mr. Brown’s suggestion that patients should go somewhere else to get their medicine is insulting, especially to the patients who cannot travel outside of their home to obtain the medicine and cannot find a caregiver to grow it for them.

This shows the true intent of the Imperial Beach City Council; eradicate access for patients to their medicine rather than adopt regulations helping those in need obtain it.

Clearly the Imperial Beach City Council and City Manager need to be thoroughly educated on the issue. We cannot allow our own government to thumb their noses at the Grand Jury and legitimate medical marijuana patients.

All concerned citizens, patients, and those who want to see this reefer madness mentality changed please come out on July 7th at 6pm to 825 Imperial Beach Blvd to the Imperial Beach City Council Meeting and help us urge the council members to move forward on a fair and sensible regulation for patients, rather than continue to stonewall, stall, or outright ban dispensaries in Imperial Beach.

In the meantime please feel free to call, and email the Imperial Beach City Council with your thoughts on how they are moving forward on this issue.

Jim Janney, Mayor of Imperial Beach //jjanney@cityofib.org

Lorie Bragg - //loriebraggib@aol.com Patricia McCoy - //mccoy4ib@aol.com Jim King - //jimkingforib@gmail.com Diane Rose - //rose4ib@aol.com

Gary Brown, City Manager //ibcmanager@cityofib.org

San Diego ASA is encouraging county residents from all 17 municipalities who are concerned about safe access in their own community to be at the Imperial Beach City Hall located at 825 Imperial Beach Blvd. at 6pm July 7th to send a strong message back to their community leaders in hopes that their community leaders will respond in a supportive way to the Grand Jury’s recommendations.

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