Why Overturn the San Diego City Medical Marijuana Zoning Ordinance?
The city ordinance is vastly different from the recommendations of their own city appointed medical marijuana task force, which crafted the initial recommendations for medical marijuana regulation over a period of 8 months. In response to the proposed ordinance, 7 members of the leadership of the medical marijuana taskforce wrote letters stating their opposition to the proposed ordinance to City Council.
The city ordinance eliminates collectives from the communities most supportive of medical marijuana collectives (Ocean Beach and Hillcrest) and concentrates collectives in the communities least receptive of medical marijuana collectives (Clairemont and Otay Mesa).
The city ordinance does not specify who will enforce the new safety or permitting regulations outlined as part of the ordinance. It also does not provide additional budget for the agencies tasked with such enforcement.
At community planning group input meetings, the majority of citizens criticized the signage and advertising utilized by medical marijuana collectives. The city ordinance does not address these issues. It concentrates the collectives in certain zones that are incompatible with citizen recommendations.
Loss of state tax revenue estimated to be between 7 million and 10 million dollars, the city would loose the portion of this tax revenue that is returned to the city for school and road construction. Also, by eliminating collectives from San Diego, the city will eliminate a source of potential local tax revenue.
No cost estimates have yet been produced by the city of San Diego for the cost of shutting down all collectives in the city of San Diego, nor has a budget been established for the approval and monitoring costs going forward.
Over three hundred people currently are employed by non-profit collectives across San Diego City. When the city ordinance goes into affect, all collectives will be at least temporarily closed and these jobs will be suspended.
If the city ordinance goes into affect, it will trigger lawsuits on behalf of the patient community by lawyers from Americans for Safe Access and other prominent law firms representing non-profit collectives in San Diego City. City taxpayers will be forced to pay for the defense of this ordinance in state court.
By eliminating most collectives in the city of San Diego, the remaining few collectives will have less market pressure to maintain affordability for patient medicine. The result would be a decrease in competition and an increase in prices. The city ordinance could potentially create a few medical marijuana superstores serving thousands of patients across San Diego from a single location with large amounts of marijuana being stored and transported.
Without legal access to medical marijuana, medical marijuana patients will turn to the black market. Also, the marijuana currently being distributed through legal collectives, will be funneled to the black market if the ordinance is to take affect. Without legal regulated competition, street drug dealers and their cartel bosses will have a complete monopoly on marijuana distribution in San Diego city.
Per the City Ordinance, the largest zone in which collectives would be allowed would be the Otay Mesa region of San Diego, directly on the Mexico border. There have been three tunnels, created by drug traffickers for the transportation of Mexican black market marijuana, already discovered in this area of Otay Mesa. By placing medical marijuana in this warehouse area, we are risking cartel access.
The city ordinance eliminates Medical Marijuana Collectives from many communities in San Diego City. Medical Marijuana Collectives are necessary for patients who are financially, physically, or otherwise restricted from producing their own medicine – particularly for patients who reside in Section 8 or other restrictive housing arrangements.Banning or limiting the number of dispensing collectives allowed to operate places unnecessary hardship on patients with limited mobility and financial security.
Medical Marijuana has been proven as an effective treatment for an array of severe chronic and terminal conditions including AIDS/HIV, Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer. Other chronic, though less severe, conditions such as: anxiety, depression, asthma, arthritis, bipolar disorder, and inflammatory bowel problems are also known to be relieved by proper use of medical marijuana, leading to a valid doctor’s recommendation. This ordinance will lead to the immediate closure of all collectives in San Diego, and until ones can be re-opened with conditional use permits, no medicinal access will be available.
With the city ordinance, vulnerable patients, especially those with limited mobility, will be severely burdened to access the few industrial and commercial industrial zones where collectives will be allowed to exist. There is limited public transportation and often poor lighting in the industrial zones of Kearny Mesa and Otay Mesa, where collectives will most likely be forced to relocate with the city ordinance. This creates a security risk to the patients forced into these areas to access medicine.
For patients unable or unwilling to travel to distant industrial zones, the other option for medicinal access will be the illegal drug dealers in their own communities. Patients will be contributing to drug cartel profits and purchasing un-inspected, unregulated medicine to the risk of their own well being.
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