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Medical marijuana activists sue the city of San Diego

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SAN DIEGO – A group of medical marijuana activists sued the city of San Diego this week to put a stop to recently passed regulations of dispensaries.

The lawsuit was filed in Superior Court by the Union of Medical Marijuana Patients Inc., which calls itself a civil rights organization founded in 2007 in Los Angeles to defend and assert the rights of medical cannabis patients.

Their petition for a writ of mandate contends that, according to a study of the zoning regulations passed by the council, “only 30” dispensaries can possibly exist in the city.

The regulations, adopted in March, set distance restrictions between collectives and residences, schools, parks and other family-oriented facilities. It also required people who run the cooperatives to obtain a conditional use permit, good for five years, and a public safety permit, which must be renewed annually.

An inspection of a map with all the guidelines laid out “clearly shows that cooperatives will be concentrated in certain areas of the city and patients will need to travel relatively far to visit them,” says the petition, the filing of which was first reported by Courthouse News Service.

The plaintiffs also said the city also did not properly follow the California Environmental Quality Act when adopting the regulations.

The City Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

However, a San Diego-based group of medical marijuana advocates said the lawsuit will “only serve to delay safe, reasonable access to medicinal cannabis for legitimate patients.”

The Alliance for Responsible Medicinal Access said in a statement that “San Diego’s medical marijuana providers and patients are eager to see permitted cooperatives operating lawfully in the city, and while it’s true the new ordinance is highly restrictive, this attempted end-run around our City Council through the courts will do nothing to improve access.”

“Our local medicinal marijuana community should continue to focus its energy and resources on proving to regulators, law enforcement and the community that we are good neighbors and an asset to our city,” the group said.

Even though the regulations have been enacted, medical marijuana dispensaries remain illegal in San Diego until the permits are issued. City officials said the process could take six months to one year to complete.Medical-Marijuana

3 comments

  • jediYL

    Having moved to the state of Washington five years ago, when the medical marijuana community was at its zenith of affluence, before recreational marijuana use was legalized for all of the public, I have had the opportunity to study this transformation. It's true; now you can smoke pot here on the streets and possess up to a quarter ounce (I believe the amount to be,) whereas before these things were illegal. Of course the medical marijuana lobby was a very strong voice in the pursuit for liberated recreation.
    The climate is so different from that of San Diego that it evidently shapes the culture here. So many residents are drawn away by warmer weather cities that it becomes a challenge to replace them with immigrants, and hopefully even better people. Attracting new citizens to the state of Washington is the theme of the recent "drug revolution." Still I do not think that a stronger marijuana community in San Diego will serve the city's interests. It may or may not succeed in the north but it will never be the way of Southern California. Can the "local medical marijuana community … prove to regulators, law enforcement and the community that they are good neighbors and an asses to the city?" I'd think again. Looking at it through the of statistics, the level of marijuana related crime(s) is significantly greater than the level of crimes committed for common motivations. This is the downside of legal marijuana usage. A good question is: are a hundred high-quality citizens that truly appreciate the narcotic luxury worth the negativity of a thousand useless marijuana addicts? or ten thousand? These are two wholly different (exponentiated) equations. So it really is, despite any social moral factor, a rights issue – at least to the medical marijuana community. Does anyone have the right to be intoxicated? I wonder.

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